HeLa cell membranes were studied for the distribution and orientation of the Golgi marker enzyme uridine diphosphate-galactose:beta-D-N-acetylglucosamine beta, 1-4 transferase (GT). Short pulse labeling in the presence of [35S]methionine resulted in two precursor species (Mr = 44,000 and 47,000), present in a microsomal fraction with a density of 1.18 g/ml in sucrose, presumably derived from the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Processing of the N-linked oligosaccharide(s) occurred only after the precursor molecules migrated to lighter density fractions, presumably derived from the Golgi complex. The mature GT molecules (Mr = 54,000) contain O-linked oligosaccharides as shown by beta-elimination of metabolically incorporated [3H]galactose. The O-glycosylation occurred mainly in the light density fractions. The topology of GT was studied on membrane fractions after labeling with [35S]methionine as well as immunocytochemically on ultrathin cryosections at the electron microscope level. Our results indicate that both the antigenic determinants of GT as well as polypeptide chain are present intramembraneously and at the luminal side of the membranes of the Golgi complex and rough endoplasmic reticulum.

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