Accelerated rates of ribosomal RNA synthesis during growth of contracting heart cells in culture

J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 25;264(30):18220-7.


Contractile activity of neonatal cardiac myocytes stimulated hypertrophic growth as compared with nonbeating cells that were depolarized with 50 mM KCl. Growth of contracting myocytes was associated with an increased rRNA content as measured by the total RNA/DNA ratio. The fractional rates of rRNA synthesis (K8) and rRNA degradation were determined in contracting and nonbeating myocytes to assess their relative contributions in increasing rRNA content during growth. The values for K8 were calculated from the specific radioactivity of 3'-[3H]UMP in 18 and 28 S rRNA after purification by hybridization to cloned rDNA. The cellular [3H]UTP pool served as the precursor for rRNA synthesis in myocytes that were labeled with 50 microM [3H]uridine. K8 values for 18 and 28 S rRNA in contracting myocytes were accelerated by 59 and 53%, respectively, after 3 days as compared with nonbeating myocytes. Calculations of the rate of cellular rRNA synthesis, which took into account the increased content of myocyte rRNA, revealed that synthesis of both 18 and 28 S rRNA was accelerated 2-fold after 2 days of contraction. The derived values for degradation of 18 and 28 S rRNA were increased marginally in contracting myocytes, but cellular rRNA degradation rates averaged 57% higher. The difference between cellular rates of rRNA synthesis and degradation in contracting myocytes accounted for the 30% increase in rRNA content. These data demonstrated that increased rRNA content in contracting myocytes resulted from acceleration of the fractional rate of rRNA synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Heart Ventricles / drug effects
  • Myocardial Contraction*
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Potassium Chloride / pharmacology
  • RNA, Ribosomal / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Rats
  • Uridine / metabolism
  • Uridine Monophosphate / metabolism
  • Uridine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Ventricular Function


  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Potassium Chloride
  • DNA
  • Uridine Monophosphate
  • Uridine Triphosphate
  • Uridine