Total smooth microsomes from rat liver isolated on a Cs+-containing sucrose gradient were concentrated and subsequently fractionated by zone centrifugation on a stabilizing sucrose gradient. The prerequisite for fractionation is to prepare total smooth microsomes in a nonaggregated condition, as well as to utilize a procedure which counteracts enzyme inactivation. The median equilibrium density of the various smooth microsomal vesicles ranges from 1.10 to 1.18. The phospholipid/protein ratio is identical in all subfractions, but cholesterol, on a PLP basis, is enriched in the subfractions with the highest sedimentation velocity. The enzyme distribution pattern reveals a pronounced heterogeneity. A number of NADH- and NADPH-oxidizing enzymes are concentrated in the upper part of the gradient and exhibit a certain degree of separation from G6Pase. Mg++-ATPase and AMPase are enriched in the lower part of the gradient. No specific enrichment of newly synthesized NADPH-cytochrome c reductase activity occurs in any of the subfractions after phenobarbital treatment. These data demonstrate that smooth microsomes, by adequate fractionation procedure, can be separated into subfractious of heterogeneous composition.

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