Nuclear magnetic resonance patterns of intracellular water as a function of HeLa cell cycle

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Science  28 May 1976:
Vol. 192, Issue 4242, pp. 904-907
DOI: 10.1126/science.1273575


Nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation time (T1) of the intracellular water protons and water content were measured in synchronized HeLa cells. The T1 was maximum (1020 milliseconds) in mitotic and minimum (534 milliseconds) in S phase cells. The cyclic pattern of T1 values correlated well with the chromosome condensation cycle. By treating cells with spermine, it was possible to alter T1 without a significant change in the water content. The results of this study suggest that an additional variable, namely, the conformational state of macromolecules, should be incluced in any expression explaining the shortened relaxation times of water protons in biological systems.