3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, a key regulatory enzyme involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, has recently been reported to be present in rat liver peroxisomes (Keller, G.A., M.C. Barton, D.J. Shapiro, and S.J. Singer, 1985, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 82:770-774). Immunoelectron labeling of ultrathin frozen sections of normal liver, using two monoclonal antibodies to purified rat liver microsomal HMG-CoA reductase, indicated that the enzyme is present in the matrix of peroxisomes. This study is a quantitative biochemical and immunoelectron microscopical analysis of HMG-CoA reductase in rat liver peroxisomes and microsomes of normal and cholestyramine-treated animals. Cholestyramine treatment produced a six- to sevenfold increase in the specific activity of peroxisomal HMG-CoA reductase, whereas the microsomal HMG-CoA reductase specific activity increased by about twofold. Using a computer program that calculates optimal linear combinations of marker enzymes, it was determined that between 20 and 30% of the total reductase activity was located in the peroxisomes of cholestyramine-treated animals. Less than 5% of the reductase activity was present in peroxisomes under control conditions. Quantitation of the immunoelectron microscopical data was in excellent agreement with the biochemical results. After cholestyramine treatment there was an eightfold increase in the density of gold particles per peroxisome, and we estimate about a threefold increase in the labeling of the ER.

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