Nucleolar partition induced by actinomycin D was used to demonstrate some aspects of nucleolar RNA synthesis and release in mouse hepatic cells, with light and electron microscopic radioautography. The effect of the drug on RNA synthesis and nucleolar morphology was studied when actinomycin D treatment preceded labeling with tritiated orotic acid. Nucleolar partition, consisting of a segegration into granular and fibrillar parts was visible if a dosage of 25 µg of actinomycin D was used, but nucleolar RNA was still synthesized. After a dosage of 400 µg of actinomycin D, nucleolar RNA synthesis was completely stopped If labeling with tritiated orotic acid preceded treatment with 400 µg of actinomycin D, labeled nucleolar RNA was present 15 min after actinomycin D treatment while high resolution radioautography showed an association of silver grains with the granular component. At 30 min after actinomicyn D treatment all labeling was lost. Since labeling was associated with the granular component the progressive loss of label as a result of actinomycin D treatment indicated a release of nucleolar granules. The correlation between this release and the loss of 28S RNA from actinomycin D treated nucleoli as described in the literature is discussed.

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