The ribosomes extracted from the mitochondria of the ciliate, Paramecium aurelia, have been shown to sediment at 80S in sucrose gradients. The cytoplasmic ribosomes also sediment at 80S but can be distinguished from their mitochondrial counterparts by a number of criteria. Lowering of the Mg++ concentration, addition of EDTA, or high KCl concentrations results in the dissociation of the cytoplasmic ribosomes into 60S and 40S subunits, whereas the mitochondrial ribosomes dissociate into a single sedimentation class at 55S. Furthermore, the relative sensitivity of the two types of ribosome to dissociating conditions can be distinguished. Electron microscopy of negatively stained 80S particles from both sources has also shown that the two types can be differentiated. The cytoplasmic particles show dimensions of 270 X 220 A whereas the mitochondrial particles are larger (330 X 240 A). In addition, there are several distinctive morphological features. The incorporation of [14C]leucine into nascent polypeptides associated with both mitochondrial and cytoplasmic ribosomes has been shown: the incorporation into cytoplasmic 80S particles is resistant to erythromycin and chloramphenicol but sensitive to cycloheximide, whereas incorporation into the mitochondrial particles is sensitive to erythromycin and chloramphenicol but resistant to cycloheximide.

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