Subcellular fractions were obtained from rat liver homogenates under conditions which prevented degradation of polysomes (pH 8.5 and high ionic strength). Rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) was recovered in high yields from a low-speed nuclear pellet (rapidly sedimenting endoplasmic reticulum, RSER) and from a postmitochondrial supernate (rough microsomes). The polysomal RNA content of these two fractions was very similar. When polyA+-RNA's were translated inthe mRNA-dependent wheat embryo cell-free system, both fractions yielded polypeptide products which had similar electrophoretic patterns on sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gels. Activities of messenger RNA's which code for albumin and for polypeptides destined for transport to the inner membrane and matrix of mitochondria (i.e. 'mitoplasts') were assayed by translating in the more active rabbit reticulocyte cell-free system followed by immunoprecipitation of radioactive products and coelectrophoresis with immunoprecipitated marker proteins on SDS-polyacrylamide gels. These tests indicated that albumin mRNA is about equally distributed between the two fractions of RER, or slightly enriched in the RSER fraction when activity is expressed as a percentage of total polypeptide synthesis. Activities of cytoplasmic mRNA's which code for at least some mitoplast proteins could be detected in both fractions, but all were enriched in the rough microsome fraction, not the RSER (two- to threefold when corrected for differences in total polypeptide synthesis in the lysate). Comparisons of mRNA's from free vs. membrane-bound polysomes indicated that most of the albumin mRNA activity (86-91%) and mitoplast protein mRNA activities (75%) were present in the bound fraction. Assuming that RSER and rough microsomes do not derive exclusively from different cells types, the evidence suggests that, compared to albumin and most other membrane-bound mRNA's, cytoplasmic mRNA's coding for mitoplast proteins may be preferentially segregated or compartmentalized within the cell on the microsomal class of RER.

This content is only available as a PDF.