The trichloroacetic acid-soluble radioactivity released during incubation of mouse liver particles containing intravenously injected formaldehyde-treated 131I-albumin consisted almost entirely of 131I-iodotyrosine. The material was shown to be excreted into the medium and was not due to disruption of the particles by acid. Triton X-100 or the absence of sucrose in the medium inhibited hydrolysis of the particle-associated labeled protein. This inhibition was due to disruption of the digestive vacuoles and dilution of the protein and cathepsins in the suspending medium. These results and other experimental evidence strongly suggest that the 131I-albumin-containing liver particles are digestive vacuoles. The results also establish that 131I-albumin may be used to study these vacuoles. High concentrations of sucrose (1 M) inhibited degradation of intraparticulate protein. However, 1 M salts inhibited only the rate of the digestion. Sucrose had an inhibitory effect on a crude cathepsin preparation, and salts stimulated the activity when 131I-albumin was used as substrate. The effect of high sucrose concentrations as an inhibitor of protein hydrolysis within digestive vacuoles was, therefore, most likely due principally to an inhibition of cathepsin activity within the vacuoles. The effect of salt was probably caused by a stimulation of both intra- and extra-particulate cathepsin activities, although 0.5–1.0 M KCl appeared to protect the particles.

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