The decrease in protein synthesis which occurs in mammalian cells during cell division is associated with significant disaggregation of polyribosomes. For determining whether messenger RNA survives this disaggregation, the reformation of polyribosomes was investigated in synchronized HeLa cells as they progressed from metaphase into interphase in the presence of 2 µg/ml Actinomycin D. The persistence of messenger during cell division was evidenced by: (1) a progressive increase in the rate of protein synthesis in both treated and untreated cells for 45 min after metaphase; (2) reformation of polyribosomes, as determined by both sucrose gradients and electron microscopy, within 30 min after the addition of Actinomycin D to metaphase cells; (3) the persistence of approximately 50% of the rapidly labeled nonribosomal RNA which had associated with polyribosomes just before metaphase; (4) the resumption of synthesis, following cell division, of 6 selected peptides in Actinomycin-treated cells.

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