When permeabilized hamster fibroblasts were incubated with 4 mM-NAD+, the substrate for poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, RNA polymerase I activity was inhibited by about 85%. This inhibition was not relieved by prior incubation of cells with 3-aminobenzamide, a potent inhibitor of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Digestion of cells with pancreatic deoxyribonuclease I resulted in the inhibition of RNA polymerase I by 80% and the activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase by up to 300%; prior incubation with 3-aminobenzamide did not prevent the inhibition of the RNA polymerase activity. No radioactivity was found associated with RNA polymerase I during later stages of purification of this enzyme from permeabilized cells previously incubated with [14C]NAD+. The inhibitory effect of NAD+ on RNA polymerase I was not specific for NAD+, as other small, negatively charged molecules with a nuclear location also inhibited the enzyme. The results do not support the concept of a role for ADP-ribosylation in transcription catalysed by RNA polymerase I.

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