RNA synthesis almost ceases in mitosis. It is ambiguous whether this temporal, negative control of RNA synthesis is solely because of the nature of chromosomes per se, (i.e., their condensed state), or to a physical loss of RNA polymerases along with other nuclear proteins which have been shown to pass into the cytoplasm in mitosis, or to their combined feature. Aside from such regulatory considerations, a question has also been raised as to whether RNA polymerases are constituents of metaphase chromosomes. To clarify these aspects of RNA polymerase-chromatin interaction in mitosis, the enzymes in chromosomes were quantitated and their levels compared to those in interphase nuclei and cells at various phases of the cell cycle. The results show that the amounts of form I, form II, and probably form III enzymes bound to a genome-equivalent of chromatin stay constant during the cell cycle. Thus, the mechanism for the negative control of RNA synthesis in mitosis appears to exist in the chromosomes per se, but not to be directly related to the RNA polymerase levels. This quantitative conservation of chromatin-bound RNA polymerases implies that they may persist as structural components of the chromosomes in mitosis.

This content is only available as a PDF.