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Macromolecular complex consisting of a protein linked to a nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA. The proteins that combine with DNA are generally of characteristic types called histones and protamines. The resulting nucleoproteins (deoxynucleoproteins) make up the chromosomes of living cells. Many viruses are little more than organized agglomerations of deoxynucleoproteins. Many specific RNA nucleoproteins are also known; they have diverse cellular functions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on nucleoprotein, visit Britannica.com.