Incorporation of leucine-C14 into subcellular fractions of the apical section of pea seedlings has been studied as a function of the length of incubation. The specific activity of the microsomes was higher than that of the supernatant for short but not for long incubations, in agreement with observations on other systems. In this developing tissue the nuclei and especially the mitochondria appear to incorporate amino acid very rapidly. An insoluble fraction of the microsome pellet, which is presumably a liponucleoprotein complex, was found to possess, after 1 hour of incubation, a specific activity much greater than that of the purified microsomal particles or the supernatant fraction.
Ninety-eight per cent of the leucine-C14 in the purified microsomal particles has been shown to possess bound amino groups, presumably in peptide linkages, by the DNP-end group method. These particles liberate but little peptide or protein of very high specific activity when they are destroyed by removal of Mg or by hydrolysis of RNA.
Microsomal particles were fractionated into an RNA fraction and five protein fractions by means of density gradient centrifugation. By this method 95 per cent of the RNA can be separated from 90 per cent of the protein of the particle. Furthermore, the RNA fraction has been shown to contain very little protein of high specific activity. A particular protein fraction which contains the remaining 5 per cent of the RNA, possessed after 1 hour of incubation a specific activity 2 to 9 times higher than the protein of the other fractions.