1. Cytochemical studies of the intracellular distribution of alkaline phosphatase in rat liver have been made, using a fractionation procedure recently developed in this laboratory (8) and a similar but modified method not described previously. Aqueous media were used in both cases.
2. The alkaline phosphatase was found to consist of two forms, one of which is strongly activated by magnesium and one of which is not sensitive to this metal.
3. The form of the enzyme that is not activated by magnesium occurs mainly in the nuclear fraction, where it seems to be rather firmly bound. Some of this form of the enzyme is also found in the microsomes, but very little if any occurs in the soluble supernatant fraction.
4. The form of alkaline phosphatase which is activated by magnesium occurs mainly in the soluble supernatant fraction, but what is believed are significant amounts also occur in nuclei. A significant portion of this form of the enzyme can be extracted from the isolated nuclei with cold, isotonic saline solution. Some activity of this form of the enzyme is also found in the microsomal fraction.
5. Mitochondria appear to contain relatively little alkaline phosphatase of either kind.
6. The concept of a porous nuclear membrane has been invoked to explain some of the results obtained in this work. It is postulated that part at least of the form of the enzyme that is activated by magnesium is free to diffuse back and forth through pores in the nuclear membrane, whereas this is considered not to be possible for the form of the enzyme that is insensitive to magnesium as a result of the firm binding of the latter to nuclear substance.