Protein synthesis and RNA synthesis during mitosis were studied by autoradiography on mammalian tissue culture cells. Protein synthesis was followed by incubating hamster epithelial and human amnion cells for 10 or 15 minutes with phenylalanine-C14. To study RNA synthesis the hamster cells were incubated for 10 minutes with uridine-C14. Comparisons of the synthetic capacity of the interphase and mitotic cells were then made using whole cell grain counts. The rate of RNA synthesis decreased during prophase and reached a low of 13 to 16 per cent of the average interphase rate during metaphase-anaphase. Protein synthesis in the hamster cells showed a 42 per cent increase during prophase with a subsequent return to the average interphase value during metaphase-anaphase. The human amnion cells showed no significant change at prophase but there was a 52 to 56 per cent drop in phenylalanine incorporation at metaphase-anaphase as compared to the average interphase rate. Colcemide was used on the hamster cells to study the effect of a prolonged mitotic condition on protein and RNA synthesis. Under this condition, uridine incorporation was extremely low whereas phenylalanine incorporation was still relatively high. The drastic reduction of RNA synthesis observed under mitotic conditions is believed to be due to the coiled condition of the chromosomes. The lack of a comparable reduction in protein synthesis during mitosis is interpreted as evidence for the presence in these cells of a relatively stable messenger RNA.

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