Addition of nutrients to starved mouse S-180 cells leads to rapid conversion of ribosomal monomers to polysomes. During this process, a portion of the ribosomes originally found in the 17,000 g (10 min centrifugation) supernatant of cell lysates becomes firmly attached to structures sedimenting at 500 g (5 min centrifugation). Electron microscopy of sections of the intact cells showed the change from randomly distributed ribosomal particles to clusters. Association with membranes also became evident. The material sedimenting at 500 g comprised nuclei enclosed in an extensive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network. This fraction prepared from recovering cells showed numerous ribosome clusters associated with the ER network. The appearance of many of these clusters indicated that the ribosomal particles were not directly bound to the membranes. RNase treatment released about 40% of the attached ribosomes as monomers, and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid released 60% as subunits. It is suggested that during polysome formation a portion of the ribosomes becomes attached to the membranes through the intermediary of messenger RNA.

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