The possibility of compartmentation of UTP in vivo was investigated in the renal cortex of unanaesthetized rats. In addition, liver and spleen were studied in order to compare tissues with different utilization of precursors for pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis. After continuous 2h infusions of [3H]uridine or [3H]orotate, their incorporation into UTP, UDP-sugars and RNA was quantified. Rates of RNA synthesis were calculated by dividing the incorporation of precursor into RNA by the average specific radioactivity of the UTP pool. Although similar RNA-synthesis rates might have been expected with the two precursors, higher rates were found with uridine than with orotate. The relative incorporation into UDP-sugars of these precursors was also different. Similar results were obtained in the liver. In the spleen, equal amounts of both precursors were incorporated into UTP, but [3H]orotate incorporation did not lead to labelling of RNA. To evaluate the heterogeneity of cells with respect to the metabolism of pyrimidines, precursor incorporation was studied in isolated glomeruli and by radioautography. Incorporation into glomeruli was qualitatively similar to but quantitatively different from results in the renal cortex. Although there is obvious tissue heterogeneity, compartmentation of UTP pools is the most credible explanation for the results obtained with the renal cortex and liver. Consequently RNA and UDP-sugars may originate from two different UTP pools. Tissue heterogeneity is the likely explanation for the results obtained in the spleen. Studies of synthesis of pyrimidine and RNA, particularly in relation to growth and regeneration, must take into consideration the precursor used, the apparent existence of UTP compartmentation and the degree of cellular heterogeneity.

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