The distribution of monodisperse high molecular weight RNA (38, 30, 28, 23, and 18S RNA) was studied in the salivary gland cells of Chironomus tentans. RNA labeled in vitro and in vivo with tritiated cytidine and uridine was isolated from microdissected nucleoli, chromosomes, nuclear sap, and cytoplasm and analyzed by electrophoresis on agarose-acrylamide composite gels. As shown earlier, the nucleoli contain labeled 38, 30, and 23S RNA. In the chromosomes, labeled 18S RNA was found in addition to the 30 and 23S RNA previously reported. The nuclear sap contains labeled 30 and 18S RNA, and the cytoplasm labeled 28 and 18S RNA. On the basis of the present and earlier analyses, it was concluded that the chromosomal monodisperse high molecular weight RNA fractions (a) show a genuine chromosomal localization and are not due to unspecific contamination, (b) are not artefacts caused by in vitro conditions, but are present also in vivo, and (c) are very likely related to nucleolar and cytoplasmic (pre)ribosomal RNA. The 30 and 23S RNA components are likely to be precursors to 28 and 18S ribosomal RNA. The order of appearance of the monodisperse high molecular weight RNA fractions in the nucleus is in turn and order: (a) nucleolus, (b) chromosomes, and (c) nuclear sap. Since both 23 and 18S RNA are present in the chromosomes, the conversion to 18S RNA may take place there. On the other hand, 30S RNA is only found in the nucleus while 28S RNA can only be detected in the cytoplasm, suggesting that this conversion takes place in connection with the exit of the molecule from the nucleus.

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