This report details the procedural requirements for preparing cell-free extracts of yeast rich in polyribosomes. This enabled us to demonstrate the occurrence of polyribosomes in yeast, to show their role in protein synthesis, and to devise methods for their resolution and isolation. When certain precautions are met (the use of log phase cells, rapidly halting cell growth, gentle methods of disruption, sedimentation through exponential density gradients, etc.), individual polyribosome size classes ranging up to the heptosome can be fractionated and separated from their nearest neighbors. Larger size classes are resolved partially among themselves, free of smaller polyribosomes. This was confirmed by extensive electron micrographic studies of material from the various fractions obtained upon density gradient centrifugation of yeast extracts. Modifications of the gradients and procedure should allow fractionation and isolation of the larger polyribosomes, including those containing polycistronic messages. Yeast polyribosomes are disaggregated to single ribosomes by longer term grinding, cell disruption by the French pressure cell, the Hughes press, or by incubation with dilute RNAse. Yeast polyribosomes are active in the incorporation of amino acids into polypeptide; the single ribosomes exhibit only slight activity. The latter activity is probably due to the presence of a small fraction of monosomes still containing mRNA. Poly-U stimulates amino acid incorporation only in the single ribosomes.

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