Distribution of Ribonucleic Acid in the Cytoplasm of Growing Cells Studied with Phosphorus-32

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Abstract

THE occurrence of ribonucleic acid in the sub-microscopic particles obtained by centrifugation of extracts of organs (granules, microsomes, lipo-nucleoprotein complexes) has suggested the hypothesis that these particulate structures might have a role in the synthesis of proteins, and that they may even be identifiable with the viruses and plasmagenes. This idea implies not only that these particles actually exist in the cytoplasm but also that ribonucleic acid is really part of them. It is possible, of course, that they are artefacts which appear upon homogenization of the cells. Indeed, Kleczkowski1 and Lauffer2 have shown that a nucleoprotein, the tobacco mosaic virus, is able to form complexes with different proteins under the influence of small changes in the medium, and it is also known that the distribution of ribonucleic acid among the different fractions separable by ultracentrifugation of a tissue extract depends on the salt concentration of the extraction medium3. Brachet and Jeener4 observed in 1943 that high-speed centrifugation of a piece of frog liver displaced a large part of the ribonucleic acid towards the centrifugal ends of the cells ; but this phenomenon was not seen when mammalian liver was used. Furthermore, the conditions under which centrifugation is carried out are quite abnormal (using concentrated sugar solutions of the same density as the tissue).

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References

  1. 1

    Kleczkowski, A., Biochem. J., 40, 677 (1946).

  2. 2

    Lauffer, M. A., J. Biol. Chem., 174, 481 (1948).

  3. 3

    Brachet, J., and Chantrenne, H., Acta Biol. Belg., 4, 451 (1942). Jeener, R., Experientia, 2, 458 (1946); Biochim. et Biophys. Acta. (in the press).

  4. 4

    Brachet, J., and Jeener, R., Enzymologia, 11, 196 (1943).

  5. 5

    Juni, E., Kamen, M. D., Reiner, J. M., and Spiegelman, S., Arch. Biochem., 18, 387 (1948).

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JEENER, R. Distribution of Ribonucleic Acid in the Cytoplasm of Growing Cells Studied with Phosphorus-32. Nature 163, 837 (1949) doi:10.1038/163837a0

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