Purified cytoplasmic poly(A)+ RNA isolated from unstimulated pig lymphocytes has the same ability to direct translation in a range of cell-free systems as the corresponding mRNA from 20h phytohaemagglutinin-activated lymphocytes. Additional methylation of the mRNA is not required for maximum protein synthesis in the wheat-germ cell-free system. Misleading results are obtained if the mRNA preparations used are not adequately purified, and a method suitable for routine assessment of the degree of purification achieved is described. Cell-free protein-synthesizing systems from unstimulated lymphocytes translate added lymphocyte mRNA with lower efficiency than do comparable systems from phytohaemagglutinin-activated lymphocytes, whatever the source of the mRNA used.

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