, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 209-220

RNA and Macronuclear transcription in the ciliate Stylonychia mytilus

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Nuclear and cytoplasmic RNA of Stylonychia mytilus were analyzed on denaturing polyacrylamide gels. The molecular weight of rRNA precursor molecules is within a range of 2.1×106 daltons. A comparison between the electrophoretic pattern of nuclear non-ribosomal RNA and cytoplasmic mRNA indicates that a considerable amount of nuclear RNA sequences is of higher molecular weight than cytoplasmic RNA sequences. The molecular weight distribution of cytoplasmic RNA supports the assumption that also in Stylonychia an average sized mRNA molecule contains 1,200–1,500 nucleotides according to a molecular weight of 4×105 to 5×105 daltons. The size of the polyadenylic acid fragment of poly-A+ RNA molecules is about 120 nucleotides. The total mass of cytoplasmic RNA is around 7.5/1010 g/cell, corresponding to 1.2×107 average sized mRNA molecules per cell. RNA excess hybridization experiments show that 60% of the DNA sequences are transcribed into nuclear RNA and that the cytoplasmic mRNA sequences are homologous to about 40% of macronuclear DNA sequences. There is no indication of different frequency classes within the mRNA. The number of different mRNA species in a Stylonychia cell is 1.2–1.5×104. On the average each of them is present about 1,000 times in every cell.

Dedicated to Professor W. Beermann on the occasion of his 60th birthday