We investigated the structure of adenovirus deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-protein complexes in nuclei of infected cells by using micrococcal nuclease. Parental (infecting) DNA was digested into multimers which had a unit fragment size that was indistinguishable from the size of the nucleosomal repeat of cellular chromatin. This pattern was maintained in parenteral DNA throughout infection. Similar repeating units were detected in hamster cells that were nonpermissive for human adenovirus and in cells pretreated with n-butyrate. Late in infection, the pattern of digestion of viral DNA was determined by two different experimental approaches. Nuclear DNA was electrophoresed, blotted, and hybridized with labeled viral sequences; in this procedure all virus-specific DNA was detected. This technique revealed a diffuse protected band of viral DNA that was smaller than 160 base pairs, but no discrete multimers. All regions of the genome were represented in the protected DNA. To examine the nuclease protection of newly replicated viral DNA, infected cells were labeled with [3H]thymidine after blocking of cellular DNA synthesis but not viral DNA synthesis. With this procedure we identified a repeating unit which was distinctly different from the cellular nucleosomal repeat. We found broad bands with midpoints at 200, 400, and 600 base pairs, as well as the limit digest material revealed by blotting. High-resolution acrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that the viral species comprised a series of closely spaced bands ranging in size from less than 30 to 250 base pairs.