The enucleation technique has been applied to Amoeba proteus by several laboratories in attempts to determine whether the cytoplasm is capable of nucleus-independent ribonucleic acid synthesis. This cell is very convenient for micrurgy, but its use requires a thorough starvation period to eliminate the possibility of metabolic influence by food vacuoles and frequent washings and medium renewal to maintain asepsis. In the experiments described here, amoebae were starved for periods of 24 to 96 hours, cut into nucleated and enucleated halves, and exposed to either C-14 uracil, C-14 adenine, C-14 orotic acid, or a mixture of all three. When the starvation period was short (less than 72 hours), organisms (especially yeast cells) contained within amoeba food vacuoles frequently showed RNA synthesis in both nucleated and enucleated amoebae. When the preperiod of starvation was longer than 72 hours, food vacuole influence was apparently negligible, and a more meaningful comparison between enucleated and nucleated amoebae was possible. Nucleated cells incorporated all three precursors into RNA; enucleated cells were incapable of such incorporation.
The experiments indicate a complete dependence on the nucleus for RNA synthesis. The conflict with the experimental results of others on this problem could possibly stem from differences in culture conditions, starvation treatment, or experimental conditions. For an unequivocal answer in experiments of this design, ideally the cells should be capable of growth on an entirely synthetic medium under aseptic conditions. The use of a synthetic medium (experiments with A. proteus are done under starvation conditions) would permit, moreover, a more realistic comparison of metabolic capacities of nucleated and enucleated cells.