A technique that permitted the reversible dissociation of rat liver ribosomes was used to study the difference in protein-synthetic activity between liver ribosomes of normal and hypophysectomized rats. Ribosomal subunits of sedimentation coefficients 38S and 58S were produced from ferritin-free ribosomes by treatment with 0.8m-KCl at 30°C. These recombined to give 76S monomers, which were as active as untreated ribosomes in incorporating phenylalanine in the presence of poly(U). Subunits from normal and hypophysectomized rats were recombined in all possible combinations and the ability of the hybrid ribosomes to catalyse polyphenylalanine synthesis was measured. The results show that the defect in ribosomes of hypophysectomized rats lies only in the small ribosomal subunit. The 40S but not the 60S subunit of rat liver ribosomes bound poly(U). The only requirement for the reaction was Mg2+, the optimum concentration of which was 5mm. No apparent difference was seen between the poly(U)-binding abilities of 40S ribosomal subunits from normal or hypophysectomized rats. Phenylalanyl-tRNA was bound by 40S ribosomal subunits in the presence of poly(U) by either enzymic or non-enzymic reactions. Non-enzymic binding required a Mg2+ concentration in excess of 5mm and increased linearly with increasing Mg2+ concentrations up to 20mm. At a Mg2+ concentration of 5mm, GTP and either a 40–70%-saturated-(NH4)2SO4 fraction of pH5.2 supernatant or partially purified aminotransferase I was necessary for binding of aminoacyl-tRNA. Hypophysectomy of rats resulted in a decreased binding of aminoacyl-tRNA by 40S ribosomal subunits.

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Author notes

Deceased 22 September 1971.