The measurement of protein turnover involves the product of the rates of protein synthesis and degradation. It is the dynamic balance between these two components that determines the measured net rate of protein synthesis. The data reported here show that brain cells from newborn animals incorporate arginine-14C into acid-insoluble protein at a rate 10-fold greater than the rate for brain cells obtained from 15-day old animals. This difference in incorporation occurred even though the rate of arginine accumulation and the resulting pool size of radioactive precursor were similar for both ages. The measurement of protein turnover in brain cell suspensions prepared from 1-day old animals was shown to be complex and to exhibit a cyclic phenomenon in regard to arginine-14C incorporation into and release from protein. The variation in half-life calculations (0.5–3.5 hr) due to this cyclic phenomenon is discussed. Although puromycin was added in an attempt to amplify the rate of degradation by preventing the synthesis of new protein, it was found that degradation was inhibited as well, suggesting a relationship between protein synthesis and degradation.

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