Ribosome contents of growing and 12-h-starved Tetrahymena pyriformis (strain B) were compared. These studies indicate that (a) starved cells contain 74% of the ribosomes found in growing cells, (b) growing cells devote 20% of their protein synthetic activity to ribosomal protein production, and (c) less than 3% of the protein synthesized in starved cells is ribosomal protein. Ribosome metabolism was also studied in starved cells which had been refed. For the first 1.5 h after refeeding, there is no change in ribosome number per cell. Between 1.5 and 2 h, there is an abrupt increase in rate of ribosome accumulation but little change in rate of cell division. By 3.5 h, the number of ribosomes per cell has increased to that found in growing cells. At this time, the culture begins to grow exponentially at a normal rate. During the first 2 h after refeeding, cells devote 30-40% of their protein synthetic activity to ribosomal protein production. We estimate that the rate of ribosomal protein synthesis per cell increases at least 80-fold during the first 1-1.5 h after refeeding, reaching the level found in exponentially growing cells. This occurs before any detectable change in ribosome number per cell. The transit time for the incorporation of these newly synthesized proteins into ribosomes is from 1 to 2 h during early refeeding, whereas in exponentially growing cells it is less than 30 min. The relationship between ribosomal protein synthesis and ribosome accumulation is discussed.

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