In naturally synchronous plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum, both tubulin and histone gene transcription define periodic cell cycle-regulated events. Using a slot-blot hybridization assay and Northern blot analysis, we have demonstrated that a major peak of accumulation of both alpha-tubulin and histone H4 transcripts occurs in late G2 phase. Nuclear transcription assays indicate that both genes are transcriptionally activated at the same point in the cell cycle: mid G2 phase. While the rate of tubulin gene transcription drops sharply at the M/S-phase boundary, the rate of histone gene transcription remains high through most of S phase. We conclude that the cell cycle regulation of tubulin expression occurs primarily at the level of transcription, while histone regulation involves both transcriptional and posttranscriptional controls. It is possible that the periodic expression of both histone and tubulin genes is triggered by a common cell cycle regulatory mechanism.

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