Washed mature spermatozoa from bulls incorporate ribonucleoside triphosphates into RNA using an endogenous template. Maximum incorporation was observed at 31 degrees C in the presence of MgCl2, all four ribonucleoside triphosphates, beta-mercaptoethanol, and glycine sodium hydroxide buffer at pH 9.0. The amount of synthesis was linearly dependent upon the concentration of spermatozoa and continued for at least 4 h. Digestion studies revealed the RNA to be present in a protected (intracellular?) location in the spermatozoa. The RNA synthesis was inhibited by ethidium bromide, rifampicin, acriflavine, actinomycin D, and caffeine, but not by alpha-amanitine or rifamycin SV. Fractionation of the spermatozoa by sonication and separation of the heads and tails by centrifugation through a discontinuous gradient revealed that more than half of the total RNA polymerase activity was associated with the tail fraction.

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