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Cycloheximide Is Not a Specific Inhibitor of Protein Synthesis in Vivo1

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Cycloheximide is frequently presumed to inhibit specifically the cytoplasmic protein synthesis of eukaryotes. Although previous investigators have shown that it had other effects on the cells of a variety of organisms, these results were frequently presumed to be secondary effects of the inhibition of protein synthesis. This paper shows that a wide range of deleterious effects are produced by cycloheximide on a single organism, Chlamydomonas reinhardi Dangeard. If, protein synthesis is inhibited by nonpermissive conditions in temperature-sensitive mutants or with other treatments these “secondary” effects are not produced. Instead, cycloheximide appears to have two or three independent inhibitory effects on the cell. Moreover, in contrast to a number of previous investigations, these results show that protein synthesis is not required for RNA synthesis. Instead the rate of RNA synthesis is actually increased by interference with protein synthesis.

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