A comparative biochemical and radioautographic in vivo study was performed to identify the site of synthesis and route of migration of albumin in the parenchymal liver cell after labeling with leucine-14C or leucine-3H via the portal vein. Free cytoplasmic ribosomes, membrane-bound ribosomes, rough- and smooth-surfaced microsomes, and Golgi membranes were isolated. The purity of the Golgi fraction was examined morphologically and biochemically. After administration of leucine-14C, labeled albumin was extracted, and the sequence of transport was followed from one fraction to the other. Approximately 2 min after the intravenous injection, bound ribosomes displayed a maximal rate of leucine-14C incorporation into albumin. 4 min later, a peak was reached for rough microsomes. Corresponding maximal activities for smooth microsomes were recorded at 15 min, and for the Golgi apparatus at ∼20 min. The relative amount of albumin, calculated on a membrane protein basis, was higher in the Golgi fraction than in the microsomes. By radioautography the silver grains were preferentially localized over the rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum at the 5 min interval. Apparent activity in the Golgi zone was noted 9 min after the injection; at 15 and 20 min, the majority of the grains were found in this location. Many of the grains associated with the Golgi apparatus were located over Golgi vacuoles containing 300–800 A electron-opaque bodies. It is concluded that albumin is synthesized on bound ribosomes, subsequently is transferred to the cavities of rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum, and then undergoes migration to the smooth-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. In the latter organelle, albumin can be expected to be segregated together with very low density lipoprotein in vacuoles known to move toward the sinusoidal portion of the cell and release their content to the blood.

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