The poly(A) content of RNA extracted from four stages of immature oocytes, mature oocytes, and cleavage embryos through the eight-cell stage was determined by hybridization with [3H]-poly(U). During oogenesis the poly(A) content per cell gradually increases from 0.007 pg of poly(A)/cell in the 10- to 39-μm oocytes to 0.20 pg of poly(A)/cell in the 125-μm mature oocytes. After fertilization there is an additional increase to approximately 1.1 pg of poly(A)/embryo at the two-cell stage which is followed by a slight decline between the two- and eight-cell stages. Most of the increase in poly(A) after fertilization occurs in a 45-min interval coincident with the appearance of the polar bodies. The size distribution of the poly(A) in RNA from the different stages of development was determined based on the length of RNase-resistant poly(U) obtained from poly(U)-poly(A) hybrids. The size distribution of the poly(A) sequences is constant through each stage of development which indicates that the increase in the poly(A) content of the cells is the result of polyadenylation of new RNA sequences. © 1978.
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