1. The intraperitoneal injection of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (100mg/kg) caused a partial inhibition of protein synthesis in several organs of the rat, the maximum effect occurring after 2–3h. 2. In the liver the inhibition of protein synthesis was paralleled by a marked disaggregation of polyribosomes and an increase in ribosome monomers and ribosomal subunits. No significant breakdown of polyribosomes was found in adult rat brains although N-methyl-N-nitrosourea inhibited cerebral and hepatic protein synthesis to a similar extent. In weanling rats N-methyl-N-nitrosourea caused a shift in the cerebral polyribosome profile similar to but less marked than that in rat liver. 3. Reaction of polyribosomal RNA with N-[14C]methyl-N-nitrosourea in vitro did not lead to a disaggregation of polyribosomes although the amounts of 7-methylguanine produced were up to twenty times higher than those found after administration of sublethal doses in vivo. 4. It was concluded that changes in the polyribosome profile induced by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea may reflect the mechanism of inhibition of protein synthesis rather than being a direct consequence of the methylation of polyribosomal mRNA.

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