The sites of synthesis of proteins and their subsequent migration in rat liver have been studied during a 75 min period after labeling of liver-slice proteins by exposure to leucine-H3 for 2 min. Incorporation of the label into protein began after 1 min and was maximal by 4 min. Electron microscopic radioautography showed that synthesis of proteins in hepatocytes occurs mainly on ribosomes, particularly those in rough endoplasmic reticulum and, to some extent, in nuclei and mitochondria. Most of the newly formed proteins leave the endoplasmic reticulum in the course of 40 min, and concurrently labeled proteins appear in Golgi bodies, smooth membranes, microbodies, and lysosomes. A likely pathway for the secretion of some or all plasma proteins is from typical rough endoplasmic reticulum to a zone of reticulum which is partially coated with ribosomes, to the Golgi apparatus, and thence to the cell periphery. The formation of protein by reticuloendothelial cells was measured and found to be about 5% of the total protein formed by the liver.

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