The production of restrictocin (a cytotoxin that specifically cleaves ribosomal RNA) by cultures of grown in liquid medium was investigated. The function of restrictocin, the method of its accumulation and the mode of resistance to restrictocin in are unknown. Previous studies have indicated that restrictocin accumulates in the medium with culture age. These observations have been extended in this study by cloning the cDNA of the gene and using this cDNA clone to probe the onset of messenger RNA synthesis in the cells. The results of the Northern analysis were compared to the production and accumulation of restrictocin and morphological differentiation of the cells in culture. Restrictocin was found in the medium at the same time that mRNA was detected in the cells. This suggests that the leader sequence encoded by the cDNA provides an efficient secretion system for the protein. Both the protein and the mRNA were detected coincident with the formation of differentiated cell structures. These structures develop into conidiophores with one layer of sterigmata and conidia forming from the sterigmata. These results suggest that restrictocin is either involved in the process of conidiation or is coordinately regulated with differentiation leading to conidiation.


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