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Cell. 1977 Mar;10(3):453-62.

Number and distribution of polyadenylated RNA sequences in yeast.


The poly(A)-containing RNA, isolated from the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been characterized with regard to the number and distribution of sequences by a kinetic analysis of RNA-cDNA hybridization. In agreement with results previously obtained on metazoan eucaryotes (Bishop et al., 1974), discrete complexity classes were observed. There exist low, medium, and high complexity classes which contain approximately 20, 400, and 2400 sequences, respectively. This measurements of the number of sequences has been verified by hybridization with single copy DNA. 20% of the single copy fraction of the yeast genome is rendered double-stranded by poly(A)-containing RNA. Assuming asymmetric transcription, this is equivalent to approximately 4000 poly(A)-containing sequences, verifying the results obtained with RNA-cDNA hybridization. In addition, the first-order kinetics of the hybridization with single copy DNA verified the notion that most of the sequence complexity is present at the same intracellular concentration. The same number and distribution of sequences were found in poly(A)-containing polysomal RNA and in total RNA, suggesting that most or all of the sequence complexity is on polysomes and is adenylated. The results indicate that RNA-cDNA hybridization is an accurate method for determining sequence complexity values and that yeast, grown under vegetative conditions, has 3000-4000 different mRNA sequences.

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