The tRNA content and aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases of regenerating liver in the phase of rapid growth were compared with those of livers from both intact and sham-operated rats. At 48 h after hepatectomy, the amount of active tRNA (called ‘total acceptor capacity’) is significantly higher in regenerating liver than in control livers, owing to a general, possibly not uniform, increase in the various tRNA families, which suggests that it may contribute to the increased protein synthesis and to decreased protein degradation as well. The activities of most, but not of all, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in cell sap of regenerating liver tend to be greater than normal. Increased activity of histidyl-tRNA synthetase fits in with the possibility that the mechanisms that control the rate of protein degradation through aminoacylation of tRNAHis in cultured cells [Scornik (1983) J. Biol. Chem. 258, 882-886] also operate in the liver and play a role in regeneration. Sedimentation analysis of cell sap in sucrose density gradients shows a shift of prolyl-tRNA synthetase activity toward the high-Mr form in regenerating liver. This change might be related to the positive protein balance and to growth in vivo, since it is also observed in the anaplastic Yoshida ascites hepatoma AH 130.

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