Xenopus neurula cells were cultured in a medium that contained ammonium salts, amines, polyamines or α-methylornithine, and their rRNA synthesis was examined. All the ammonium salts and amines, but not polyamines, were strong and selective inhibitors of rRNA synthesis at 1.25-5.0 mM. α-Methylornithine did not inhibit rRNA synthesis, although it inhibited ornithine decarboxylase, an enzyme claimed to be a direct stimulator of rRNA synthesis. During the treatment ammonium ions and monomethylamines were accumulated within the treated cells. However, monomethylamines did not induce the accumulation of ammonium ions, and vice versa. Ammonium salts and amines also selectively inhibited rRNA synthesis in Xenopus borealis neurula cells.
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