1. The Widnell & Tata (1966) assay method for Mg2+-activated DNA-dependent RNA polymerase was used for initial-velocity determinations of rat liver nuclear RNA polymerase. One unit (U) of RNA polymerase was defined as that amount of enzyme required for 1 mmol of [3H]GMP incorporation/min at 37°C. 2. Colony fed rats were found to have a mean RNA polymerase activity of 65.9μU/mg of DNA and 18h-starved rats had a mean activity of 53.2μU/mg of DNA. Longer periods of starvation did not significantly decrease RNA polymerase activity further. 3. Rats that had been starved for 18h were used for all feeding experiments. Complete and tryptophan-deficient amino acid mixtures were given by stomach tube and the animals were killed 15–120min later. The response of RNA polymerase to the feeding with the complete amino acid mixture was rapid and almost linear over the first hour of feeding, resulting in a doubling of activity. The activity was still elevated above the starvation value at 120min after feeding. The tryptophan-deficient amino acid mixture produced a much less vigorous response about 45min after the feeding, and the activity had returned to the starvation value by 120min after the feeding. 4. The response of RNA polymerase to the feeding with the complete amino acid mixture was shown to occur within a period of less than 5min to about 10min after the feeding. 5. Pretreatment of the animals with puromycin or cycloheximide was found to abolish the 15min RNA polymerase response to the feeding with the complete amino acid mixture, but the activity of the controls was unaffected. 6. The characteristics of the RNA polymerase from 18h-starved animals and animals fed with the complete or incomplete amino acid mixtures for 1h were examined. The effects of Mg2+ ions, pH, actinomycin D and nucleoside triphosphate omissions were determined. The [Mg2+]– and pH–activity profiles of the RNA polymerase from the animal fed with the complete mixture appeared to differ from those of the enzyme from the other groups, but this difference is probably not significant. 7. [5-3H]Orotic acid incorporation by rat liver nuclei in vivo was shown to be affected by the amino acid mixtures in a similar manner to the RNA polymerase. 8. The tryptophan concentrations of plasma and liver were determined up to 120 min after feeding with the amino acid mixtures. Feeding with the complete mixture produced a rapid increase in free tryptophan concentrations in both plasma and liver, but feeding with the incomplete mixture did not alter the plasma concentration. The liver tryptophan concentration increased at about 45min after feeding with the tryptophan-deficient diet. 9. There was a good correlation between the liver tryptophan concentration and RNA polymerase activity in all groups of animals. 10. It was concluded that the rat liver nucleus responded to an increase in amino acid supply by increased synthesis of RNA as a result of synthesis of RNA polymerase de novo. The correlation of tryptophan concentration and RNA polymerase activity appears to reflect the general amino acid concentration required to support hepatic protein synthesis and to produce new RNA polymerase. This new polymerase appears to differ from the basal RNA polymerase by its rapid synthesis and destruction, which may be a means of regulating RNA synthesis by the amino acid concentration in the liver.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.