The distribution of radioautographic grains over organelles within the beta cells of rat islets of Langerhans was investigated at various times after pulse labeling of the isolated islets with tritium-labeled amino acids. Ten minutes after the start of labeling most of the grains were situated over the endoplasmic reticulum and cytoplasm; by contrast, 60 min from the start of labeling the majority of the grains were associated with the beta granules. At 20, 30, and 45 minutes after pulse labeling the proportion of grains associated with the Golgi complex was increased two- to three-fold over the 10- or 60-minute values. The distribution of radioautographic grains over granules in the intact cells did not suggest that the electron-lucent type of secretory granules were precursors of the electron-opaque granules. Furthermore, studies of the pattern of grains over granules isolated by centrifugation 60 min after pulse labeling showed no preferential labeling of the electron-lucent type of granule. It is concluded that labeled amino acids are incorporated initially in the endoplasmic reticulum, and that the label subsequently appears in the beta granules. The Golgi complex participates either in the formation of the beta granule or in the translocation of the granule through the cytoplasm of the cell.

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