Date of Award

Summer 1980

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemistry & Biochemistry



Committee Director

Thomas O. Stiz

Committee Member

Kenneth Somers

Committee Member

James H. Yuan

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C45G63


Altered patterns of methylation have been shown in both ribosomal and transfer RNA isolated from cancer cells. In contrast to the elevated activity of the methyltransferases responsible for this modification, hypomethylation appears as a general characteristic. The endogenous levels of S-adenosylmethionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine are important in relationship to their role as substrate and product of the transmethylation reaction. The levels of S-adenosylmethionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine were determined using phosphocellulose cation exchange or high pressure liquid chromatography. High voltage paper electrophoresis was used in a modified procedure to directly resolve (35s) labeled S-adenosylmethionine and S-adenosylhomocysteine in small quantities of cell extracts. The endogenous levels of these compounds show a relationship with the age of cultured cells used in the analysis. Rat cells of high passage are characterized by an increase in the ratio of S-adenosylmethionine to S-adenosylhomocysteine in addition to a decrease in the quantities of both compounds. Examination of the levels in human cells indicated that the concentration of S-adenosylmethionine is increased in neoplastic cells compared to normal cells. The ratio of S-adenosylmethionine to S-adenosylhomocysteine is inversely related to the levels of 2'-0-methylation of 5.8S rRNA. An increased rate of methionine transport was demonstrated in cells of low passage.


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