The mechanism of coordination between DNA replication and cell division was studied in Tetrahymena pyriformis GL-C by manipulation of the timing of these events with heat shocks and inhibition of DNA synthesis. Preliminary experiments showed that the inhibitor combination methotrexate and uridine (M + U) was an effective inhibitor of DNA synthesis. Inhibition of the progression of DNA synthesis with M + U in exponentially growing cells, in which one S period usually occurs between two successive divisions, or in heat-shocked cells, when successive S periods are known to occur between divisions, resulted in the complete suppression of the following division. In further experiments in which the division activities were reassociated with the DNA synthetic cycle by premature termination of the heat-shock treatment, it was shown that (a) the completion of one S period during the treatment was sufficient for cell division, (b) the beginning of division events suppressed the initiation of further S periods, and (c) if further S periods were initiated while the heat-shock treatment was continued, division preparations could not begin until the necessary portion of the S period was completed, even though DNA had previously been duplicated. It was concluded that a temporal incompatibility exists between DNA synthesis and division which may reflect a coupling mechanism which insures their coordination during the normal cell cycle.

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