The round nucleoli of chick embryo myoblasts, when grown in a culture medium devoid of arginine, unravel in several days into 5–20 µ long, beaded strands termed nucleolar necklaces (NN). Addition of arginine reverses this change. The NN contain protein, RNA, and traces of DNA as determined cytochemically by enzyme digestion and by acridine-orange fluorescent staining. When a cell containing the beaded strand is treated with agents, such as actinomycin D, that prevent rRNA polymerase action, the strand collapses and condenses into a small dense nucleolus with segregated regions of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) and deoxyribonucleoprotein (DNP). The properties of the NN appear to resemble those of the nucleolar necklaces of amphibian oocytes. Cycloheximide or puromycin inhibition of general protein synthesis does not lead to NN formation. We suggest that NN formation during arginine starvation may be a result of a singular depletion of some rapidly turning over, arginine-rich proteins that normally attach to ribosomal RNA precursor molecules during their synthesis in the processing towards maturation of the ribosomes.

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