Radioactive galactose, covalently bound to cell surface glycoconjugates on mouse macrophage cells, P388D1, was used as a membrane marker to study the composition, and the kinetics of exchange, of plasma membrane-derived constituents in the membrane of secondary lysosomes. Secondary lysosomes were separated from endosomes and plasma membrane on self-forming Percoll density gradients. Horseradish peroxidase, taken up by fluid-phase pinocytosis, served as a vesicle contents marker to monitor transfer of endosomal contents into secondary lysosomes. Concurrently, the fraction of plasma membrane-derived label in secondary lysosomes increased by first order kinetics (k = [56 min]-1) from less than 0.1% (background level) to a steady-state level of approximately 2.5% of the total label. As analyzed by NaDodSO4 PAGE, labeled molecules of Mr 160-190 kD were depleted and of Mr 100-120 kD were enriched in lysosome membrane compared with the relative composition of label on the cell surface. No corresponding selectivity was observed for the degradation of label, with all Mr classes being affected to the same relative extent. The results indicate that endocytosis-derived transfer of plasma membrane constituents to secondary lysosomes is a limited and selective process, and that only approximately 1% of internalized membrane is recycled via a membrane pool of secondary lysosomes.

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