To determine the possible significance of in vivo or in vitro enzyme action in ribonucleoprotein systems, rat liver microsomes and ribonucleoprotein particles (RNP) prepared from them by deoxycholate treatment were incubated for 1 hour at 37°C. with crystalline pancreatic ribonuclease (RNase) or various RNase-free crystalline proteolytic enzymes. The extent of the degradation of the RNA of the microsomes and RNP was determined and the protein degradation estimated in both cases. With either microsomes or RNP, RNase (0.5 to 1.0 mg. per ml.) degraded from 75 to 95 per cent of the RNA, with little protein breakdown being apparent when microsomes were used but with significant protein degradation in the RNP. When microsomes were treated with proteolytic enzymes approximately 40 to 50 per cent of the original microsomal protein became nonsedimentable while at the same time 60 to 80 per cent of the RNA was also found to be non-sedimentable. Of the non-sedimentable RNA, approximately one-third was in the form of acid-precipitable RNA while the remainder was in the form of acid-soluble nucleotides. When RNP was treated with proteolytic enzymes, about 95 per cent of the RNA could no longer be sedimented. About half of this appeared as acid-precipitable RNA and half as acid-soluble nucleotides. Both microsomes and RNP contained significant RNase activity with RNP exhibiting about 10 times the specific activity of microsomes. Some of the characteristics of this RNase activity were determined and the results with proteolytic enzymes interpreted in light of this activity.

This content is only available as a PDF.