Transcriptionally inactive chick erythrocyte nuclei were reactivated by Sendai virus-induced fusion of erythrocytes with rat L6J1 myoblasts. We used antibodies to trace the appearance of a specific protein engaged in transcription of a defined class of genes, those coding for rRNA, during reactivation. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we found increasing amounts of rat RNA polymerase I to appear, during a certain period of time after fusion, in the reforming nucleoli of the chick nuclei. Amounts of rat RNA polymerase I sufficient to be detected by immunofluorescence microscopy had accumulated in the newly developed chick nucleoli 72-190 h after fusion was initiated. This time interval coincides with the time when chick rRNA synthesis can first be detected. The results raise the possibility that during these stages of the reactivation process chick rRNA genes are transcribed by heterologous RNA polymerase I molecules of rat origin.

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