The requirements for ATP synthesis during the various phases of mitosis were investigated in the oxygen-requiring eggs of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. CO in the dark, a specific inhibitor of respiration, was used to inhibit ATP synthesis. The kinetics of respiratory inhibition were determined by analyzing ATP levels with the luciferin-luciferase assay. The kinetics of mitotic inhibition were determined by analysis of the rate of mitosis. It was found that CO inhibition resulted in a decrease in the normal ATP level. Coincident with this decrease was a decrease in the rate of mitosis which stops completely when the ATP drops below 50 per cent of the normal level. With the use of various degrees of CO inhibition, the rate of mitosis is shown to be related to the resultant ATP level. These results contradict the basic premise of the energy reservoir hypothesis, and also disagree with other reports that cells in mitosis are insensitive to inhibitors of energy metabolism. Data are presented which demonstrate that these conflicting reports result from insufficient inhibition of ATP synthesis. The above findings all indicate that mitosis depends on the continuous synthesis and utilization of ATP.

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