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The long term effect of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) on the synthesis of adrenodoxin in bovine adrenocortical cells was investigated. Primary, confluent monolayer cultures of adult bovine adrenocortical cells were incubated in the presence or absence of ACTH (10(-6) M) for periods up to 72 h. The amount of adrenodoxin precursor synthesized in a cell-free translation system programmed with RNA isolated from ACTH-treated cells increased to approximately 3 times the control level by 36 h. Similarly, ACTH increased the rate of incorporation of [35S]methionine into mature adrenodoxin in radiolabeled adrenocortical cells, an effect that was maximal 36 h after initiation of ACTH treatment. At longer times (48-72 h), the stimulatory effect of ACTH was not maintained, and adrenodoxin synthesis in both radiolabeled cells and cell-free translation systems declined to control levels. The content of adrenodoxin in cells treated with ACTH for 36 h, as measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, was approximately twice that in control cells. The results indicate that ACTH induces the synthesis of adrenodoxin in bovine adrenocortical cells. Based on the present results as well as those previously reported with respect to the induction of cholesterol side chain cleavage cytochrome P-450 by ACTH (DuBois, R. N., Simpson, E. R., Kramer, R. E., and Waterman, M. R. (1981) J. Biol. Chem. 256, 7000-7005), it is proposed that the synthesis of the mitochondrial components of the adrenocortical steroid hydroxylase system is controlled by ACTH in a coordinate fashion.