The cellular RNA content of mouse fibroblasts incubated with actinomycin decreases at a rate of about 1 to 1.5 per cent per hour, while DNA and protein content remain unchanged. This degradation affects nuclear and cytoplasmic RNA, ribosomal and soluble RNA. The breakdown products appear quantitatively in the acid-soluble fraction of the cells and the medium. Polynucleotides synthesized a short period (120 minutes) prior to exposure to actinomycin are degraded before those synthesized 8 to 12 hours previously.

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