Potentiation of hemoglobin messenger ribonucleic acid. A step in protein synthesis initiation involving interaction of messenger with 18 S ribosomal ribonucleic acid

D. Kabat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The polyadenylic acid containing messenger ribonucleic acid from rabbit reticulocyte polyribosomes, isolated by a rapid and very gentle procedure, sediments in a sucrose gradient in three sharp peaks, at 9 S, 17 to 18 S and 28 S. The α and β globin messenger activity follows the absorbance profile in the sucrose gradients and has its major peak at 17 to 18 S. The larger messengers are more active than 9 S messenger by approximately 2 fold per mass unit of ribonucleic acid or by at least 8 fold per molecule. The major 17 to 18 S form of globin messenger was examined further and was shown to be a 1:1 complex of 9 S messenger and 18 S ribosomal ribonucleic acid. The effect of 18 S ribosomal ribonucleic acid on translation of purified 9 S globin messenger was analyzed in a messenger dependent protein synthesizing system. In the absence of exogenous ribosomal ribonucleic acid, 9 S messenger is inefficiently translated; a large excess of messenger is required to saturate the system; and globin in synthesized mainly on di and monoribosomes. Exogenous liver or reticulocyte 18 S ribosomal ribonucleic acid potentiates 9 S messenger translation and renders it at least 10 times more efficient. The potentiation reaction can also be accomplished by increasing the concentration of ribosomes in the assay system. However, transfer or messenger ribonucleic acids cannot carry out this reaction. It is proposed that 9 S globin messenger ribonucleic acid is an inactive molecule which is normally potentiated by specific reversible base pairing with an accessible region of ribosomal ribonucleic acid contained in a 40 S ribosomal subunit. The potentiated messenger interacts with initiation factors and with other ribosomal subunits to synthesize protein. Potentiation is the first specific function in protein synthesis demonstrated for the ribosomal ribonucleic acid portion of ribosomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6085-6092
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this