A cell-free system prepared from mouse ascites cells and used in the translation of rabbit globin and histone mRNA has been studied. The Mg2+ optimum for the translation of rabbit globin and HeLa cells mRNA has been found to be 2-3 mM. The optimal concentration of different labeled amino acids used in the cell-free system has been determined. The concentration of globin mRNA that is optimally translated has been determined and the conditions under which the cell-free system responds linearly to the addition of mRNA have been defined. The effect of the presence of rRNA has been studied. Small amounts of rRNA, in the range that may contaminate mRNA preparations, have little or no effect on protein synthesis; large amounts of rRNA stimulate translation of mRNA, possibly by protecting it from nucleases.
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