Purified plasma membrane fractions from lactating bovine mammary glands and membranes of milk fat globules from the same source were similar in distribution and fatty acid composition of phospholipids. The sphingomyelin content of the phospholipid fraction of both membranes was higher than in these fractions from other cell components, ß-carotene, a constituent characteristic of milk fat, was present in the lipid fraction of the plasma membrane. Cholesterol esters of plasma membrane were similar in fatty acid composition to those of milk fat globule membranes. Disc electrophoresis of either membrane preparation on polyacrylamide gels revealed a single major protein component characteristic of plasma membrane from other sources. Distinct morphological differences between plasma membrane and milk fat globule membranes were observed in both thin sections and in negatively stained material. Plasma membrane was vesicular in appearance while milk fat globule membranes had a platelike aspect. These observations are consistent with derivation of fat globule membrane from plasma membrane accompanied by structural rearrangement of membrane constituents.

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