Subfractionation of preparations of rat liver microsomes with a suitable concentration of sodium deoxycholate has resulted in the isolation of a membrane fraction consisting of smooth surfaced vesicles virtually free of ribonucleoprotein particles. The membrane fraction is rich in phospholipids, and contains the microsomal NADH-cytochrome c reductase, NADH diaphorase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and ATPase in a concentrated form. The NADPH-cytochrome c reductase, a NADPH (or pyridine nucleotide unspecific) diaphorase, and cytochrome b5 are recovered in the clear supernatant fraction. The ribonucleoprotein particles are devoid of, or relatively poor in, the enzyme activities mentioned. Those enzymes which are bound to the membranes vary in activity according to the structural state of the microsomes, whereas those which appear in the soluble fraction are stable. From these findings the conclusion is reached that certain enzymes of the endoplasmic reticulum are tightly bound to the membranes, whereas others either are loosely bound or are present in a soluble form within the lumina of the system. Some implications of these results as to the enzymic organization of the endoplasmic reticulum are discussed.

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