The effect of convulsions, induced by flurothyl, on RNA synthesis in purified unfractionated nuclei and the cytoplasm of rat cerebral cortex was studied by using a double-label technique involving injection of [3H]- and [14C]-orotate intracisternally. 2. Intact RNA was extracted in 80% yield by an enzymic method by using a proteinase in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulphate followed by deoxyribonuclease. Electrophoresis on 1.5% polyacrylamide-0.5% agarose gels revealed the presence of giant nuclear RNA of size up to approx. 300 × 10(6) daltons and mRNA of maximal mol.wt. 9 × 10(6)-16 × 10(6). 3. Nuclear RNA synthesis was decreased to 27% in the first 15 min after convulsions but rapidly increased, so that at 1 1/2 h it was 124% of the control, and at 6 h 147%. 4. Labelling of cytoplasmic RNA was decreased to 15% at 15 min after convulsions but had not recovered to control values by 6 h. 5. Analysis of radioactive gel patterns and the 3H/14C ratio at six time-points (15 min-6h) showed that the major effect was inhibition of the processing of heterogeneous nuclear RNA resulting in a sharp decline in the export of newly synthesized RNA from the nucleus. 6. Cytoplasmic RNA patterns indicated that specific messengers were synthesized at different times during the recovery of the cell after convulsions.

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