Cell Growth pp 337-345 | Cite as

Protein and RNA Synthesis

  • Renato Baserga
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 38)


In studying cell proliferation we often forget that in ordinary circumstances a cell, to divide, must not only replicate DNA, but must also double its size. We have been so taken by the simplicity of measuring the incorporation of Tdr-{3H}- into nuclei of cells that we have forgotten that cell DNA replication and cell division can sometimes be dissociated. Yet when cells go from one mitosis to the next one, they must double their size. This is almost intuitive since, if dividing cells were not to double their size from G1 to M, they would become progressively smaller and eventually vanish. In fact, cellular size progressively increases from G1 to M and with size there is also a doubling of proteins and nucleic acids which are good indicators of the size of the cells. Proteins and nucleic acids constitute about 50% of the dry weight of a cell and among the nucleic acids ribosomal RNA constitute about 85% of the total RNA and roughly 70% of the total nucleic acids. The ribosomal RNA genes are, therefore, a reasonable target for growth signals. By increasing ribosomal RNA synthesis the cell provides most of its nucleic acids, as well as the framework where proteins are synthesized. It is, therefore, not surprising that when cells are stimulated to proliferate an increase in ribosomal RNA synthesis is almost invariably noticed.


Nonpermissive Temperature rRNA Synthesis Ts13 Cell SV40 Genome Fragment SV40 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renato Baserga
    • 1
  1. 1.Fels Research Institute and Department of PathologyTemple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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