Reconstructed complexes of the inner histones (H2A, H2B, H3, H4) and a variety of DNAs were digested with micrococcal nuclease to yield very homogeneous populations of core nucleosomes (..nu../sub 1/). Nucleosomes containing Micrococcus luteus DNA (72% G+C); chicken DNA (43% G+C), Clostridium perfringens DNA (29% G+C); or poly(dA-dT).poly(dA-dT) have been examined by circular dichroism, thermal denaturation, electron microscopy, and DNAse I digestion. Circular dichroism spectra of all particles show a typically suppressed ellipticity at 260 to 280 nm and a prominent ..cap alpha..-helix signal at 222 nm. All particles show biphasic melting except ..nu../sub 1/(dA-dT), which show three prominent melting transitions at ionic strength less than or equal to 1 mM. DNAse I digestion of ..nu../sub 1/ (dA-dT) produces a ladder of DNA fragments differing in length by one base residue. ..nu../sub 1/ (dA-dT) contain 146 base pairs of DNA and exhibit an average DNA helix pitch of 10.4 to 10.5 bases per turn. There appear to be two regions of different DNA pitch within ..nu../sub 1/ (dA-dT). It is suggested that the two regions of DNA pitch might correspond to the two regions of the melting profiles.