Two methods of polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (the acid method of Eytan and Ohad and the Na dodecylsulfate (SDS) disc method of Maizel) have been used for analyzing the proteins of gel fractions isolated from the guinea pig pancreatic exocrine cells and in particular the proteins bound to the membranes involved in the synthesis, intracellular transport, and discharge of secretory enzymes: rough (RM) and smooth microsome (SM) membranes, zymogen granule (ZG) membranes, and plasma membranes (PM). Since in the two systems the electrophoretic mobility of proteins depends on different factors (size, shape, and net charge of molecules in the acid system; size only in the SDS system) a deeper insight into the protein composition of the fractions could be obtained. The gel patterns of RM, SM, and ZG membranes turned out to be accounted for mainly by segregated secretory enzymes (in rough microsomes also by ribosome proteins) and thus were found to share most of the bands. In contrast, with highly purified membrane fractions different patterns were obtained: RM and SM membrane proteins turn out to contain a large number of different proteins with molecular weights varying between ∼150,000 and 15,000 daltons. The pattern of ZG membranes was greatly different in the two systems: only two bands were separated by the acid method and as many as 23 by the SDS method. PM gave a rather complex pattern in either system. Both ZG membranes and PM were found to contain a large proportion of low molecular weight proteins. Nothing appears in common between the proteins of SM membranes (primarily of Golgi origin) and those of ZG membranes, while the latter and PM exhibit a certain degree of similarity. By amino acid analysis we found only slight differences: relative to the other fractions: RM membranes were higher in basic amino acids and ZG membranes contained a larger amount of methionine. Taken together with recent data on lipid composition and enzyme activities of the same fractions, these results indicate that the membranes of the pancreatic exocrine cells are chemically and functionally distinct, and hence do not mix randomly with one another during the transport of secretory products.

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