The G protein of vesicular stomatitis virus, implanted into the apical plasma membrane of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, is rapidly transcytosed to the basolateral membrane. In this and the accompanying paper (Pesonen, M., R. Bravo, and K. Simons, 1984, J. Cell Biol. 99:803-809.) we have studied the intracellular route by which the G protein traverses during transcytosis. Using Percoll density gradient centrifugation and free flow electrophoresis we could demonstrate that the G protein is endocytosed into a nonlysosomal compartment with a density of approximately 1.05 g/cm3, which has many of the characteristics of endosomes. Transcytosis to the basolateral membrane appeared to occur from this compartment. No direct evidence for the involvement of lysosomes in the transcytotic route could be obtained. No G protein was detected in the lysosomes when transcytosis of G protein was occurring. Moreover, at 21 degrees C when passage of G protein to the lysosomes was shown to be arrested, transcytosis of G protein could still be demonstrated.

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