Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain how secretory cells remove from the plasmalemma the excess membrane resulting from the insertion of granule membrane during exocytosis: intact patches of membrane may be internalized and then reutilized within the cell; alternatively these membranes may be either disassembled to subunits or degraded. In the latter case new membranes should be synthetized at other sites of the cell, probably in the rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and the Golgi complex. In the present research, membrane subfractions were obtained from rough microsomes (derived from fragmented and resealed RER cisternae) and from smooth microsomes (primarily contributed by Golgi stacks and vesicles) of the guinea pig pancreas by incubation at 4°C for 4 hr in 0.0005 M puromycin at high ionic strength followed by mild (pH 7.8) alkaline extraction with 0.2 M NaHCO3. Such treatments release the majority of nonmembrane components of both microsomal fractions (i.e., contained secretory enzymes, ribosomes, and absorbed proteins of the cell sap) and allow the membranes to be recovered by centrifugation. The effect of in vitro stimulation of enzyme secretion (brought about in pancreas slices by 0.0001 M carbamoyl choline) on the rate of synthesis of the phospholipid (PLP) and protein of these membranes was then investigated. In agreement with previous data, we observed that in stimulated slices the synthesis of microsomal PLP was greatly increased. In contrast, the synthesis of microsomal membrane proteins was unchanged. These results suggest that exocytosis is not coupled with an increased rate of synthesis of complete ER and Golgi membranes and are, therefore, consistent with the view that excess plasma membrane is preserved and reutilized, either as discrete membrane patches or as membrane macromolecules, throughout the secretory cycle.

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