The effects of 24-h exposure to spectinomycin (100 microgram/ml) and ethidium bromide (1 microgram/ml) on the accumulation of chloroplast and mitochondrial rRNAs and on organelle ultrastructure were studied in greening cells of Ochromonas danica. Cells treated with ethidium bromide for 24 h divide at the same rate as controls but contain less than one third the normal amount of mitochondrial rRNA. Ultrastructural observations showed that these cells contain only 10% the number of mitochondrial ribosomes found in controls as well as fewer mitochondrial cristae. Ethidium bromide has no effect on chloroplast ultrastructure in Ochromonas. Greening cells treated with spectinomycin grow at close to control rates but contain 30–40% less chloroplast rRNA than do controls. Electron microscopy showed that spectinomycin disrupts the organization of chloroplast membranes and reduces the number of chloroplast ribosomes by 30%. Under these conditions, spectinomycin has no effect on mitochondrial rRNA or ultrastructure. Since spectinomycin is a specific inhibitor of translation on 70S ribosomes, these results are consistent with the possibility that at least some chloroplast ribosomal proteins are synthesized in the chloroplast of Ochromonas.

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