The elaboration of enamel matrix glycoprotein was investigated in secretory ameloblasts of incisor teeth in 30–40-g rats. To this end, the distribution of glycoprotein was examined histochemically by the use of phosphotungstic acid at low pH, while the formation of glycoprotein was traced radioautographically in animals sacrificed 2.5–30 min after galactose-3H injection. Histochemically, the presence of glycoprotein is observed in ameloblasts as well as in the enamel matrix; in ameloblasts glycoprotein occurs within the Golgi apparatus in amounts increasing from the outer to the inner face of the stacks of saccules, and is concentrated in condensing vacuoles and secretory granules; in the enamel matrix, glycoprotein is observed within linear subunits. Radioautographs at 2.5 min after injection demonstrate the uptake of galactose-3H label by Golgi saccules, indicating that galactose-3H is incorporated into glycoprotein within this organelle. After 5–10 min, the label collects in the condensing vacuoles and secretory granules of the Golgi region. By 20–30 min, the label appears in the secretory granules of the apical (Tomes') processes, as well as in the enamel matrix (next to the distal end of the apical processes, and at the tips of matrix prongs). In conclusion, galactose contributes to the formation of glycoprotein within the Golgi apparatus. The innermost saccules then distribute the completed glycoprotein to condensing vacuoles, which later evolve into secretory granules. These granules rapidly migrate to the apical processes, where they discharge their glycoprotein content to the developing enamel.

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