The synthesis of "very low" density lipoprotein in liver cells is characterized by the fact that the synthesized products, mostly triglycerides, are processed in the form of discrete, size-limited granules or globules, about 400 A in diameter. The present investigation has been made possible in part by the use of a fixative (OsO4 in bidistilled H2O at pH 6.0, in the absence of electrolytes) particularly effective in preserving cytoplasmic membranes and lipids, and giving them high stainability and differential contrast. Under these technical conditions, the lipoprotein granules retain their morphology and high density to electrons practically unaltered, and may serve as tracers in determining their route of transport from the sites of synthesis, starting at the rough-smooth ER junctions, to the lumen of Golgi concentrating vesicles. From the observations, it may be deduced that, along with lipoprotein granule synthesis and transport, there are also production and transfer of new membranes in the form of tubular extensions of smooth ER network which, by progressive fusion and coalescence, participate in the elaboration of fenestrated plates and solid Golgi sacs. In contradistinction to the entire process of liver lipoprotein granule synthesis, transport, and segregation, as reported in the present paper, appears to constitute a developmental sequence which includes the following communicating compartments, in consecutive order: cisternae of rough ER where proteins and possibly phospholipids are synthesized, smooth ER network where triglycerides are synthesized and transported in the form of dense granules, fusion of smooth ER tubular extensions into Golgi fenestrated plates, and further coalescence into solid Golgi sacs, ending in the segregation of the granules in appended concentrating vesicles, or detached "secretory vesicles." It seems that it is this progressive evolution in growth and configuration of membranes which is reflected in the so called polarity, from forming to mature faces, of the Golgi apparatus.

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