Two major cyclic nucleotide-independent protein kinases, NI and NII, have been identified in Morris hepatoma 3924A and rat liver. When expressed per unit DNA, the activities of protein kinase NI and NII were 1.3 and 12 times greater, respectively, in the hepatoma than in liver. Protein kinase NII, but not NI, was capable of phosphorylating and activating the DNA-dependent RNA polymerases I and II. Phosphorylation of RNA polymerase I was accompanied by an increase in average size of the RNA synthesized in vitro, whereas, phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II was concomitant with an elevation in the number of RNA chains initiated. RNA polymerase I polypeptides of Mr120,000, 65,000 and 25,000 were phosphorylated by protein kinase NII; RNA polymerase II polypeptides of Mr214,000, 140,000 and 21,000 were modified by this kinase. In contrast to the purified hepatoma enzyme, RNA polymerase I activity in nuclear lysates was not affected by addition of protein kinase NII. In vitro phosphorylation of the tumor lysate followed by immunoprecipitation of RNA polymerase I polypeptides indicated little or no phosphate transfer to the 65,000 Mrpolypeptide of the enzyme. These data suggested that the tumor enzyme, particularly the 65,000 Mrpolypeptide, was highly phosphorylated in vivo, but becomes dephosphorylated during purification. Unlike the tumor enzyme, RNA polymerase I in the liver lysate responded to protein kinase addition; phosphorylation of the liver polymerase I polypeptides of Mr120,000, 65,000 and 25,000 was observed. These observations indicate that the liver enzyme is not completely phosphorylated (activated) in vivo and that the relatively rapid rate of ribosomal RNA synthesis in the rapidly growing hepatoma may result, at least in part, from a polymerase I which is maximally phosphorylated. © 1983.
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