[35S]Sulfate incorporation was measured in populations of Chinese hamster ovary cells enriched for mitotics, early G1 cells, and interphase monolayers or suspensions. Incorporation was determined by biochemical analysis of extracts and quantitative autoradiography of thick sections. 90% of [35S]sulfate was incorporated into glycosaminoglycan (GAG). Incorporation was depressed fourfold in mitotics and stimulated by from two- to three-fold in early G1 cells relative to mixed interphase cells. GAG synthesis was maintained into late G2. Thus, the rate of GAG biosynthesis was correlated temporally with the detachment and reattachment of cells to substrate. Inhibitors of protein synthesis brought about the rapid arrest of GAG biosynthesis. However, xylosides, which bypass the requirement for core protein, did not bring oligosaccharide sulfation in mitotics to interphase levels. These observations indicate an inhibition of Golgi processing and are consistent with a generalized defect of membrane vesicle-mediated transport during mitosis.

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