The sites of synthesis of the major thylakoid membrane polypeptides have been studied in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by pulse labeling of cells with [14C]acetate in the presence of inhibitors specific for chloroplast and cytoplasmic protein synthesis. The labeled membrane polypeptides were separated by an improved method of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gradient gel electrophoresis, and autoradiographs were made of the dried gels. The results demonstrate that of the 33 polypeptides resolved in the gels, at least nine are made on chloroplast ribosomes. Two of these (polypeptides 2 and 6) are associated with the reaction centers of photosystems I and II. Another polypeptide (polypeptide 5) appears from genetic data to be coded by chloroplast DNA. Experiments with a mutant whose chloroplast ribosomes are resistant to spectinomycyn (spr-u-1-6-2) show that polypeptides whose synthesis takes place on chloroplast ribosomes are made in the presence of spectinomycin in the mutant although their synthesis is blocked by this antibiotic in wild type cells.

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