Regulation of the rate of protein synthesis in BHK21 cells by exogenous serine

Robert W. Allen, Merwin Moskowitz

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It was previously shown that BHK21 cells were arrested in the G1 phase of the cell cycle when cultured in medium lacking serine. In this study the effect of serine limitation on protein synthesis was examined. Shifting cells from medium supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum to medium supplemented with 10% dialyzed serum resulted in a 50% reduction in the rate of protein synthesis. The reduced rate was attained within 4-10 min after shift-down and was restored completely within 5-15 min after shift-up to 10% dialyzed serum plus 0.05 mM serine, the same approximate concentration of serine present in 10% fetal calf serum. Exogenous serine appears to be incorporated into protein from a precursor pool which is functionally compartmentalized inasmuch as incorporation of serine into protein became linear within 10 min after the addition of label while the specific activity of serine in the acid soluble fraction did not attain a constant value during 60 min of labeling. The serine: leucine ratio in total cellular protein was determined from cells cultured in ten percent dialyzed serum plus 0.05 mM serine by amino acid analysis and was compared with the ratio of [3H]serine and [14C]leucine incorporated into protein. The results indicated that 50-60% of the serine utilized for protein synthesis under these conditions was derived from the medium while the other 40-50% was generated within the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1978


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