In the companion paper (Sztul, E. S., K. E. Howell, and G. E. Palade, J. Cell Biol., 100:1248-1254), we have shown that pulse labeling of hepatic proteins with [35S]cysteine can be obtained in vivo in intact rats. Soluble label clears the plasma in approximately 5 min, and incorporated label reaches peak values in the liver approximately 20 min after injection. In the present study, we show that the 105,000-mol-wt protein (105K), kinetically the earliest intracellular form of secretory component (SC), is the predominant form found, between 5 and 20 min postinjection, in homogeneous rough microsomal fractions. The second kinetically defined form, i.e., 116K, is the predominant species present in relatively homogeneous, light Golgi fractions in which it appears at approximately 15 min, and peaks at approximately 25 min, postinjection. The third kinetically defined form, 120K, is found 30 min after injection as the major SC species (albeit still accompanied by its immediate precursor, 116K), in a sinusoidal plasmalemmal fraction isolated by immunoadsorption to anti-SC-coated Sepharose beads. These findings lead to the following conclusions: (a) SC is synthesized on polysomes attached to the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane; (b) it is partially translocated across the ER membrane and core glycosylated co-translationally to give a 105K peptide; (c) 105K moves from the ER to the Golgi complex where it is terminally glycosylated to give the 116K form; (d) the latter moves to the sinusoidal plasmalemma where it appears together with the final mature form, 120K. Kinetic evidence indicates that the vesicular carriers involved in the transport of SC from the Golgi complex to the sinusoidal plasmalemma, and from the latter to the biliary front of the hepatocytes, are present in a Golgi heavy fraction and a crude carrier vesicle fraction from which they remain to be isolated, purified, and characterized.

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