Letter | Published:

Instability of Puromycin

Naturevolume 212pages196197 (1966) | Download Citation



PUROMYCIN dihydrochloride is being extensively used as an inhibitor of protein synthesis. This antibiotic inhibitor is valuable because its mode of action on protein biosynthesis has been elucidated in precise molecular terms1. Examination of the literature shows, however, that there is a considerable range in the reported potencies of different samples of the inhibitor. For example, Wheelock found that 10−4 M (about 50 µg/ml.) puromycin completely inhibited protein synthesis in HeLa cells within 45 min of treatment2, while Shah's data, also on HeLa cells, show that twice that amount of puromycin (100 µg/ml.) allowed protein synthesis to take place at 20 per cent of the control rate after 6 h of puromycin action3. Numerous other examples of such discrepancies can be found4–7. This communication draws attention to the fact that different batches of the compound may vary in potency.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Nathans, D., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 51, 585 (1964).

  2. 2

    Wheelock, E. F., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 48, 1358 (1962).

  3. 3

    Shah, V. C., Cancer Res., 23, 1137 (1963).

  4. 4

    Mueller, G. C., Kajiwara, K., Stubblefield, E., and Rueckert, R. R., Cancer Res., 22, 1084 (1962).

  5. 5

    Baltimore, D., and Franklin, R. M., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 76, 431 (1963).

  6. 6

    Holland, J. J., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 50, 436 (1963).

  7. 7

    Tamaoki, T., and Mueller, G. C., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 11, 404 (1963).

  8. 8

    Studzinski, G. P., and Love, R., J. Cell Biol., 22, 493 (1964).

  9. 9

    Scott, J. F., Fraccastoro, A. P., and Taft, E. B., J. Histochem. Cytochem., 4, 1 (1956).

  10. 10

    Schmidt, G., and Thannhauser, S. J., J. Biol. Chem., 161, 82 (1945).

  11. 11

    Hinrichs, H. R., Petersen, R. O., and Baserga, R., Arch. Path., 78, 245 (1964).

  12. 12

    Baserga, R., Estensen, R. D., Petersen, R. O., and Layde, J. P., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 54, 745 (1965).

  13. 13

    Ben-Porat, T., and Kaplan, A. S., Virology, 25, 22 (1965).

  14. 14

    Jackson, L. G., and Studzinski, G. P., Excerpta Medica, 19, xxvii (1965).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Pathology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia

  2. Fels Research Institute, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia



  1. Search for GEORGE P. STUDZINSKI in:

  2. Search for RENATO BASERGA in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.