ADP-ribosylation of histones and non-histone nuclear proteins was studied in isolated nuclei during the naturally synchronous cell cycle of Physarum polycephalum. Aside from ADP-ribosyltransferase (ADPRT) itself, histones and high mobility group-like proteins are the main acceptors for ADP-ribose. The majority of these ADP-ribose residues is NH2OH-labile. ADP-ribosylation of the nuclear proteins is periodic during the cell cycle with maximum incorporation in early to mid G2-phase. In activity gels two enzyme forms with Mr of 115,000 and 75,000 can be identified. Both enzyme forms are present at a constant ratio of 3:1 during the cell cycle. The higher molecular mass form cannot be converted in vitro to the low molecular mass form, excluding an artificial degradation during isolation of nuclei. The ADPRT forms were purified and separated by h.p.l.c. The low molecular mass form is inhibited by different ADPRT inhibitors to a stronger extent and is the main acceptor for auto-ADP-ribosylation. The high molecular mass form is only moderately auto-ADP-ribosylated.

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