We analyzed the replication of two unlinked actin genes, ardB and ardC , which are abundantly transcribed in the naturally synchronous plasmodium of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Detection and size measurements of single-stranded nascent replication intermediates (RIs) demonstrate that these two genes are concomitantly replicated at the onset of the 3-h S phase and tightly linked to replication origins. Appearance of RIs on neutral-neutral two-dimensional gels at specific time points in early S phase and analysis of their structure confirmed these results and further established that, in both cases, an efficient, site-specific, bidirectional origin of replication is localized within the promoter region of the gene. We also determined similar elongation rates for the divergent replication forks of the ardC gene replicon. Finally, taking advantage of a restriction fragment length polymorphism, we studied allelic replicons and demonstrate similar localizations and a simultaneous firing of allelic replication origins. Computer search revealed a low level of homology between the promoters of ardB and ardC and, most notably, the absence of DNA sequences similar to the yeast autonomously replicating sequence consensus sequence in these Physarum origin regions. Our results with the ardB and ardC actin genes support the model of early replicating origins located within the promoter regions of abundantly transcribed genes in P. polycephalum.
Combinations of 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) and 3H-deoxyadenosine (3H-DAdo) short pulses were given in the synchronous DNA-replication period of Physarum polycephalum. After a chase period, UV-photolysis products were analyzed on alkaline sucrose gradients. This strategy has allowed the following conclusions. a) at the time of master-initiation of DNA replication, points separated by 1.1-2.2x10(7) daltons of single strand DNA may initiate DNA synthesis. b) among these, only selected groups of replicons actually proceed in DNA replication at this time, while others appear to hold (later temporal sets of replicons). The origins of the ones that proceed in replication are separated from each other by a distance corresponding to 1.1-2.x10(7) daltons. c) regions in actual replication are separated from each other by increasing distances (up to 1.5x10(8) daltons single strand DNA) at later times in S.
The direction of replication of DNA within replicons of Physarum polycephalum was studied by pulse-labelling with 5-bromouracil-deoxyriboside (BrdUrd) and 3H-adenosine deoxyriboside (dAdo), followed by ultraviolet- (UV) -photolysis and analysis of molecular weights of single strand DNA fragments on alkaline sucrose gradients. Newly made DNA within replicons at all stages of completion is split in two equal halves upon UV irradiation when BrdUrd was given at the time of initiation of DNA synthesis. This shows that replication within replicons of Physarum polycephalum starts at an origin located in the center of each unit, proceeding bidirectionally from this origin.
We compared the pattern of replication of two cell-type specific profilin genes in one developmental stage of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Taking advantage of the natural synchrony of S-phase within the plasmodium, we established that the actively transcribed profilin P gene is tightly linked to a chromosomal replication origin and is replicated at the onset of S-phase. In contrast, the inactive profilin A gene is not associated with a replication origin and it is duplicated in mid S-phase. Mapping by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis defines a short DNA fragment in the proximal upstream region of the profilin P gene from which bidirectional replication is initiated. We further provide an estimate of the kinetics of elongation of the replicon and demonstrate that the 2 alleles of the profilin P gene are coordinately replicated. All these results were obtained on total DNA preparations extracted from untreated cells. They provide a strong evidence for site specific initiation of DNA replication in Physarum.
The 1-kb DNA fragment upstream of the ardC actin gene of Physarum polycephalum promotes the transcription of a reporter gene either in a transient-plasmid assay or as an integrated copy in an ectopic position, defining this region as the transcriptional promoter of the ardC gene (PardC). Since we mapped an origin of replication activated at the onset of S phase within this same fragment, we examined the pattern of replication of a cassette containing the PardC promoter and the hygromycin phosphotransferase gene, hph, integrated into two different chromosomal sites. In both cases, we show by two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis that an efficient, early activated origin coincides with the ectopic PardC fragment. One of the integration sites was a normally late-replicating region. The presence of the ectopic origin converted this late-replicating domain into an early-replicating domain in which replication forks propagate with kinetics indistinguishable from those of the native PardC replicon. This is the first demonstration that initiation sites for DNA replication in Physarum correspond to cis-acting replicator sequences. This work also confirms the close proximity of a replication origin and a promoter, with both functions being located within the 1-kb proximal region of the ardC actin gene. A more precise location of the replication origin with respect to the transcriptional promoter must await the development of a functional autonomously replicating sequence assay in Physarum.
NADPH-cytochrome-P450 oxidoreductase (CPR) is a ubiquitous enzyme that belongs to a family of diflavin oxidoreductases and is required for activity of the microsomal cytochrome-P450 monooxygenase system. CPR gene-disruption experiments have demonstrated that absence of this enzyme causes developmental defects both in mouse and insect.
Annotation of the sequenced genome of D. discoideum revealed the presence of three genes (redA, redB and redC) that encode putative members of the diflavin oxidoreductase protein family. redA transcripts are present during growth and early development but then decline, reaching undetectable levels after the mound stage. redB transcripts are present in the same levels during growth and development while redC expression was detected only in vegetative growing cells. We isolated a mutant strain of Dictyostelium discoideum following restriction enzyme-mediated integration (REMI) mutagenesis in which redA was disrupted. This mutant develops only to the mound stage and accumulates a bright yellow pigment. The mound-arrest phenotype is cell-autonomous suggesting that the defect occurs within the cells rather than in intercellular signaling.
The developmental arrest due to disruption of redA implicates CPR in the metabolism of compounds that control cell differentiation.
It was previously shown that the two members of the cell cycle-regulated histone H4 gene family, H4-1 and H4-2, are replicated at the onset of S phase in the naturally synchronous plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum, suggesting that they are flanked by replication origins. It was further shown that a DNA fragment upstream of the H4-1 gene is able to confer autonomous replication of a plasmid in the budding yeast. In this paper, we re-investigated replication of the unlinked Physarum histone H4 genes by mapping the replication origin of these two loci using alkaline agarose gel and neutral/neutral 2-dimensional agarose gel electrophoreses. We showed that the two replicons containing the H4 genes are simultaneously activated at the onset of S phase and we mapped an efficient, bidirectional replication origin in the vicinity of each gene. Our data demonstrated that the Physarum sequence that functions as an ARS in yeast is not the site of replication initiation at the H4-1 locus. We also observed a stalling of the rightward moving replication fork downstream of the H4-1 gene, in a region where transient topoisomerase II sites were previously mapped. Our results further extend the concept of replication/transcription coupling in Physarum to cell cycle-regulated genes.
We have tested the hypothesis which stipulates that only early-replicating genes are capable of expression. Within one cell type of Physarum - the plasmodium - we defined the temporal order of replication of 10 genes which were known to be variably expressed in 4 different developmental stages of the Physarum life cycle. Southern analysis of density-labeled, bromodesoxyuridine-substituted DNA reveals that 4 genes presumably inactive within the plasmodium, were not restricted to any temporal compartment of S-phase: 1 is replicated in early S-phase, 2 in mid S-phase and 1 in late S-phase. On the other hand, 4 out of 6 active genes analysed are duplicated early, with the first 30% of the genome. Surprisingly, the two others active genes are replicated late in S-phase. By gene-dosage analysis, based on quantitation of hybridization signals from early and late replicating genes throughout S-phase, we could pinpoint the replication of one of these two genes at a stage where 80-85% of the genome has duplicated. Our results demonstrate that late replication during S-phase does not preclude gene activity.
Invariance of temporal order of genome replication in eukaryotic cells and its correlation with gene activity has been well-documented. However, recent data suggest a relax control of replication timing. To evaluate replication schedule accuracy, we detailed the replicational organization of the developmentally regulated php locus that we previously found to be lately replicated, even though php gene is highly transcribed in naturally synchronous plasmodia of Physarum. Unexpectedly, bi-dimensional agarose gel electrophoreses of DNA samples prepared at specific time points of S phase showed that replication of the locus actually begins at the onset of S phase but it proceeds through the first half of S phase, so that complete replication of php-containing DNA fragments occurs in late S phase. Origin mapping located replication initiation upstream php coding region. This proximity and rapid fork progression through the coding region result in an early replication of php gene. We demonstrated that afterwards an unusually low fork rate and unidirectional fork pausing prolong complete replication of php locus, and we excluded random replication timing. Importantly, we evidenced that the origin linked to php gene in plasmodium is not fired in amoebae when php expression dramatically reduced, further illustrating replication-transcription coupling in Physarum.
A cell-free system using synchronous plasmodial extracts initiates replication selectively on the 60 kb rDNA palindrome of Physarum polycephalum. Preferential labeling of rDNA fragments by nuclear extracts, in which elongation is limited, indicates that initiation occurs at two positions corresponding to in vivo origins of replication estimated by electron microscopy. Both nuclear and whole plasmodial extracts initiate selectively within a plasmid, pPHR21, containing one of these origins. In this plasmid bubbles expand bidirectionally and generate DpnI-resistant DNA. Extracts made at prophase or early S phase, times when the nucleolus is disorganized, are most active in pPHR21 replication. Mapping positions of replication bubbles locates the initiation point in a 3.2 kb BstEII fragment at the upstream border of a series of 31 bp repeats 2.4 kb from the initiation point for ribosomal gene transcription.
Synchronous plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum were pulse-labeled with 3H-thymidine in early or late portions of the S-phase, and the binding capacity of the replicated DNA for isochronous S-phase plasmodial proteins assessed by nitrocellulose filter binding assay. Replication units replicating during the first one-third of the S-phase preferentially bind cytosol proteins present in plasmodia engaged in early S DNA replication, while late S replicating DNA exhibits a corresponding preferential binding of plasmodial proteins present only in late S plasmodia. Temporally-characteristic nascent replication units were isolated by Hydroxylapatite column chromatography and were found to contain binding sites for isochronous proteins.
During the S phase of the cell cycle, histone gene expression and DNA replication are tightly coupled. In mitotically synchronous plasmodia of the myxomycete Physarum polycephalum, which has no G1 phase, histone mRNA synthesis begins in mid-G2 phase. Although histone gene transcription is activated in the absence of significant DNA synthesis, our data demonstrate that histone gene expression became tightly coupled to DNA replication once the S phase began. There was a transition from the replication-independent phase to the replication-dependent phase of histone gene expression. During the first phase, histone mRNA synthesis appears to be under direct cell cycle control; it was not coupled to DNA replication. This allowed a pool of histone mRNA to accumulate in late G2 phase, in anticipation of future demand. The second phase began at the end of mitosis, when the S phase began, and expression became homeostatically coupled to DNA replication. This homeostatic control required continuing protein synthesis, since cycloheximide uncoupled transcription from DNA synthesis. Nuclear run-on assays suggest that in P. polycephalum this coupling occurs at the level of transcription. While histone gene transcription appears to be directly switched on in mid-G2 phase and off at the end of the S phase by cell cycle regulators, only during the S phase was the level of transcription balanced with the rate of DNA synthesis.
We have begun a series of studies designed to characterize gene expression during differentiation in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. This work concerns the starvation phase of the sporulation sequence and describes some of the quantitative changes which occur in plasmodial constituents during the 3-day starvation period and also describes alterations in the transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) population. The results show that whereas the plasmodial tRNA content decreased by 75% during starvation, concurrent de novo synthesis of tRNA also occurred, and they also show that overall amino acid acceptor activity of the starvation-phase tRNA population did not differ significantly from that found in the growth phase. Of the 19 starvation-phase tRNA families assayed, however, 6 were found to have consistently lower acceptor activities than did their growth-phase counterparts. Reverse-phase (RPC-5) chromatographic analysis of five of those families failed to reveal any major differences between growth- and starvation-phase isoacceptors. The data suggest that the depletion and resynthesis of tRNA during the starvation phase results in a quantitative alteration in the composition of the tRNA population and that the alteration is tRNA family and not tRNA isoacceptor specific.
Nuclei in G2 phase of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, when transplanted, by plasmodial coalescence, into an S-phase plasmodium, failed to start another round of DNA synthesis. In the reciprocal combination, S-phase nuclei in a G2-phase host continued DNA synthesis for several hours without appreciable decrease in rate. It is suggested that the beginning of DNA replication is determined by an event, either during or shortly after mitosis, which renders the chromosomes structurally competent for DNA replication.
The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a morphologically simple organism with a large and complex genome. The exon–intron organization of its genes exhibits features typical for protists and fungi as well as those characteristic for the evolutionarily more advanced species. This indicates that both the taxonomic position as well as the size of the genome shape the exon–intron organization of an organism. The average gene has 3.7 introns which are on average 138 bp, with a rather narrow size distribution. Introns are enriched in AT base pairs by 13% relative to exons. The consensus sequences at exon–intron boundaries resemble those found for other species, with minor differences between short and long introns. A unique feature of P.polycephalum introns is the strong preference for pyrimidines in the coding strand throughout their length, without a particular enrichment at the 3′-ends.
Physarum polycephalum rRNA genes are found on extrachromosomal 60 kb linear palindromic DNA molecules. Previous work using electron microscope visualization suggested that these molecules are duplicated from one of four potential replication origins located in the 24 kb central non-transcribed spacer [Vogt and Braun (1977) Eur. J. Biochem., 80, 557-566]. Considering the controversy on the nature of the replication origins in eukaryotic cells, where both site-specific or delocalized initiations have been described, we study here Physarum rDNA replication by two dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis and compare the results to those obtained by electron microscopy. Without the need of cell treatment or enrichment in replication intermediates, we detect hybridization signals corresponding to replicating rDNA fragments throughout the cell cycle, confirming that the synthesis of rDNA molecules is not under the control of S-phase. The patterns of replication intermediates along rDNA minichromosomes are consistent with the existence of four site-specific replication origins, whose localization in the central non-transcribed spacer is in agreement with the electron microscope mapping. It is also shown that, on a few molecules, at least two origins are active simultaneously.
Physarum polycephalum expresses two closely related, calcium-independent NOSs (nitric oxide synthases). In our previous work, we showed that both NOSs are induced during starvation and apparently play a functional role in sporulation. In the present study, we characterized the genomic structures of both Physarum NOSs, expressed both enzymes recombinantly in bacteria and characterized their biochemical properties. Whereas the overall genomic organization of Physarum NOS genes is comparable with various animal NOSs, none of the exon–intron boundaries are conserved. Recombinant expression of clones with various N-termini identified N-terminal amino acids essential for enzyme activity, but not required for haem binding or dimerization, and suggests the usage of non-AUG start codons for Physarum NOSs. Biochemical characterization of the two Physarum isoenzymes revealed different affinities for L-arginine, FMN and 6R-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-L-biopterin.
arginine; flavin; haem; nitric oxide synthase (NOS); Physarum polycephalum; 6R-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-L-biopterin-(H4-bip); NOS, nitric oxide synthase; iNOS, inducible NOS; TB, Terrific broth; DTE, dithioerythritol; H4-bip, 6R-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-L-biopterin; LB, Luria–Bertani; RACE, rapid amplification of cDNA ends
Two protocols have been developed, both of which utilize the thymidine analog 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) to induce mutations in mammalian cells in culture (E. R. Kaufman and R. L. Davidson, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 75:4982-4986, 1978; E. R. Kaufman, Mol. Cell. Biol. 4:2449-2454, 1984). The first protocol, termed incorporational (INC) mutagenesis, utilizes high concentrations of BrdUrd in the culture medium to generate a high intracellular ratio of BrdUTP/dCTP. The second protocol, termed replicational (REP) mutagenesis, entails the incorporation of BrdUrd into DNA under nonmutagenic conditions, the removal of all BrdUrd from the culture medium, and the subsequent replication of the bromouracil-containing DNA in the presence of high intracellular levels of dTTP and dGTP. Genetic studies using reversion analysis at the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase locus were used to determine whether the mechanisms of these two BrdUrd mutagenesis protocols had enough specificity to be distinguishable by their ability to revert various mutants. The results of these studies indicated that (i) mutants induced by INC mutagenesis were induced to revert only by REP mutagenesis and not by INC mutagenesis, (ii) mutants induced by REP mutagenesis were more efficiently reverted by INC mutagenesis than by REP mutagenesis, and (iii) both spontaneous mutants and mutants induced by the chemical mutagen ethyl methanesulfonate showed a high degree of specificity when tested for reversion by the BrdUrd mutagenesis protocols.
The relationship between bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) mutagenesis in mammalian cells and the effects of BrdUrd on deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate pools was analyzed. It was found that the exposure of Syrian hamster melanoma cells to mutagenic concentrations of BrdUrd resulted in the formation of a large bromodeoxyuridine triphosphate (BrdUTP) pool, which remained at a high level for several days. In contrast, the size of the deoxycytidine triphosphate (dCTP) pool dropped rapidly after the addition of BrdUrd, reached a minimum at about 6 h, and then expanded gradually to nearly its original level over the next 3 days. The addition of lower concentrations of BrdUrd, which had less of a mutagenic effect, resulted in the formation of a smaller BrdUTP pool and a slightly smaller drop in the dCTP pool. When a high concentration of deoxycytidine was added at the same time as a normally mutagenic concentration of BrdUrd, the drop in the dCTP pool was prevented, as was BrdUrd mutagenesis. In all of these experiments, mutagenesis was related to the ratio of BrdUTP to dCTP in the cells. In addition, it was shown that mutagenesis occurred primarily during the first 24 h of BrdUrd exposure, when the BrdUTP/dCTP ratio was at its highest level. It appears that there is a critical ratio of BrdUTP to dCTP that must be attained for high levels of mutagenesis to occur and that the extent of mutagenesis is related to the ratio of the BrdUrd and dCTP pools.
We have investigated the nucleosomal organization of ribosomal genes in the acellular slime mold Physarum polycephalum. When probed with staphylococcal nuclease, the ribosomal genes appear to be uniformly packed in nucleosomes, in an arrangement which is indistinguishable from the pattern obtained with bulk chromatin. During this study, an unusual pattern of digestion was obtained from a DNA region immediately upstream of the initiation site of rRNA transcription, in addition to the nucleosomal profile, a second regular ladder of fragments with a repeat length of 30-40 basepairs was generated from this region. We established that this pattern of degradation reflects the strong preference of staphylococcal nuclease for certain nucleotide arrangements on the DNA, rather than a particular chromatin configuration. These observations clearly show that great caution needs to be exerted whenever data from staphylococcal nuclease digestions are interpreted in terms of chromatin structure.
The orderly progression of eukaryotic cells from interphase to mitosis requires the close coordination of various nuclear and cytoplasmic events. Studies from our laboratory and others on animal cells indicate that two activities, one present mainly in mitotic cells and the other exclusively in G1-phase cells, play a pivotal role in the regulation of initiation and completion of mitosis, respectively. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether these activities are expressed in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum in which all the nuclei traverse the cell cycle in natural synchrony. Extracts were prepared from plasmodia in various phases of the cell cycle and tested for their ability to induce germinal vesicle breakdown and chromosome condensation after microinjection into Xenopus laevis oocytes. We found that extract of cells at 10-20 min before metaphase consistently induced germinal vesicle breakdown in oocytes. Preliminary characterization, including purification on a DNA-cellulose affinity column, indicated that the mitotic factors from Physarum were functionally very similar to HeLa mitotic factors. We also identified a number of mitosis-specific antigens in extracts from Physarum plasmodia, similar to those of HeLa cells, using the mitosis-specific monoclonal antibodies MPM-2 and MPM- 7. Interestingly, we also observed an activity in Physarum at 45 min after metaphase (i.e., in early S phase since it has no G1) that is usually present in HeLa cells only during the G1 phase of the cell cycle. These are the first studies to show that maturation-promoting factor activity is present in Physarum during mitosis and is replaced by the G1 factor (or anti-maturation-promoting factor) activity in a postmitotic stage. A comparative study of these factors in this slime mold and in mammalian cells would be extremely valuable in further understanding their function in the regulation of eukaryotic cell cycle and their evolutionary relationship to one another.
RNA editing describes the process in which individual or short stretches of nucleotides in a messenger or structural RNA are inserted, deleted, or substituted. A high level of RNA editing has been observed in the mitochondrial genome of Physarum polycephalum. The most frequent editing type in Physarum is the insertion of individual Cs. RNA editing is extremely accurate in Physarum; however, little is known about its mechanism. Here, we demonstrate how analyzing two organisms from the Myxomycetes, namely Physarum polycephalum and Didymium iridis, allows us to test hypotheses about the editing mechanism that can not be tested from a single organism alone. First, we show that using the recently determined full transcriptome information of Physarum dramatically improves the accuracy of computational editing site prediction in Didymium. We use this approach to predict genes in the mitochondrial genome of Didymium and identify six new edited genes as well as one new gene that appears unedited. Next we investigate sequence conservation in the vicinity of editing sites between the two organisms in order to identify sites that harbor the information for the location of editing sites based on increased conservation. Our results imply that the information contained within only nine or ten nucleotides on either side of the editing site (a distance previously suggested through experiments) is not enough to locate the editing sites. Finally, we show that the codon position bias in C insertional RNA editing of these two organisms is correlated with the selection pressure on the respective genes thereby directly testing an evolutionary theory on the origin of this codon bias. Beyond revealing interesting properties of insertional RNA editing in Myxomycetes, our work suggests possible approaches to be used when finding sequence motifs for any biological process fails.
RNA is an important biomolecule that is deeply involved in all aspects of molecular biology, such as protein production, gene regulation, and viral replication. However, many significant aspects such as the mechanism of RNA editing are not well understood. RNA editing is the process in which an organism's RNA is modified through the insertion, deletion, or substitution of single or short stretches of nucleotides. The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a model organism for the study of RNA editing; however, hardly anything is known about its editing machinery. We show that the combination of two organisms (Physarum polycephalum and Didymium iridis) can provide a better understanding of insertional RNA editing than one organism alone. We predict several new edited genes in Didymium. By comparing the sequences of the two organisms in the vicinity of the editing sites we establish minimal requirements for the location of the information by which these editing sites are recognized. Lastly, we directly verify a theory for one of the most striking features of the editing sites, namely their codon bias.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is packed into highly organized structures called mitochondrial nucleoids (mt-nucleoids). To understand the organization of mtDNA and the overall regulation of its genetic activity within the mt-nucleoids, we identified and characterized a novel mtDNA packaging protein, termed Glom (a protein inducing agglomeration of mitochondrial chromosome), from highly condensed mt-nucleoids of the true slime mold, Physarum polycephalum. This protein could bind to the entire mtDNA and package mtDNA into a highly condensed state in vitro. Immunostaining analysis showed that Glom specifically localized throughout the mt-nucleoid. Deduced amino acid sequence revealed that Glom has a lysine-rich region with proline-rich domain in the N-terminal half and two HMG boxes in C-terminal half. Deletion analysis of Glom revealed that the lysine-rich region was sufficient for the intense mtDNA condensation in vitro. When the recombinant Glom proteins containing the lysine-rich region were expressed in Escherichia coli, the condensed nucleoid structures were observed in E. coli. Such in vivo condensation did not interfere with transcription or replication of E. coli chromosome and the proline-rich domain was essential to keep those genetic activities. The expression of Glom also complemented the E. coli mutant lacking the bacterial histone-like protein HU and the HMG-boxes region of Glom was important for the complementation. Our results suggest that Glom is a new mitochondrial histone-like protein having a property to cause intense DNA condensation without suppressing DNA functions.
In the acellular slime mold Physarum polycephalum, the several hundred genes coding for rRNA are located on linear extrachromosomal DNA molecules of a discrete size, 60 kilobases. Each molecule contains two genes that are arranged in a palindromic fashion and separated by a central spacer region. We investigated how rDNA is inherited after meiosis. Two Physarum amoebal strains, each with an rDNA recognizable by its restriction endonuclease cleavage pattern, were mated, the resulting diploid plasmodium was induced to sporulate, and haploid progeny clones were isolated from the germinated spores. The type of rDNA in each was analyzed by blotting hybridization, with cloned rDNA sequences used as probes. This analysis showed that rDNA was inherited in an all-or-nothing fashion; that is, progeny clones contained one or the other parental rDNA type, but not both. However, the rDNA did not segregate in a simple Mendelian way; one rDNA type was inherited more frequently than the other. The same rDNA type was also in excess in the diploid plasmodium before meiosis, and the relative proportions of the two rDNAs changed after continued plasmodial growth. The proportion of the two rDNA types in the population of progeny clones reflected the proportion in the parent plasmodium before meoisis. The rDNAs in many of the progeny clones contained specific deletions of some of the inverted repeat sequences at the central palindromic symmetry axis. To explain the pattern of inheritance of Physarum rDNA, we postulate that a single copy of rDNA is inserted into each spore or is selectively replicated after meiosis.
Actidione (cycloheximide), an antibiotic inhibitor of protein synthesis, blocked the incorporation of leucine and lysine during the S phase of Physarum polycephalum. Actidione added during the early prophase period in which mitosis is blocked totally inhibited the initiation of DNA synthesis. Actidione treatment in late prophase, which permitted mitosis in the absence of protein synthesis, permitted initiation of a round of DNA replication making up between 20 and 30% of the unreplicated nuclear DNA. Actidione treatment during the S phase permitted a round of replication similar to the effect at the beginning of S. The DNA synthesized in the presence of actidione was replicated semiconservatively and was stable through at least the mitosis following antibiotic removal. Experiments in which fluorodeoxyuridine inhibition was followed by thymidine reversal in the presence of actidione suggest that the early rounds of DNA replication must be completed before later rounds are initiated.