Normal rat liver lysosomes were isolated by the technique of loading with Triton WR-1339. Purity of the preparation was monitored with marker enzymes; a high enrichment in acid hydrolases was obtained in the tritosome fraction. In 0.0145 M NaCl, 4.5% sorbitol, 0.6 mM NaHCO3, pH 7.2 at 25°C the tritosomes had an electrophoretic mobility of -1.77 ± 0.02 µm/s/V/cm, a zeta potential of 23.2 mV, a surface charge of 1970 esu/cm2, and 33,000 electrons per particle surface assuming a tritosome diameter of 5 x 10-7 m. Treatment of the tritosomes with 50 µg neuraminidase/mg tritosome protein lowered the electrophoretic mobility of the tritosome to -1.23 ± 0.02 µm/s/V/cm under the same conditions and caused the release of 2.01 µg sialic acid/mg tritosome protein. Treatment of the tritosomes with hyaluronidase did not affect their electrophoretic mobility, while trypsin treatment elevated the net negative electrophoretic mobility of the tritosomes. Tritosome electrophoretic mobilities indicated a homogeneous tritosome population and varied greatly with ionic strength of the suspending media. pH vs. electrophoretic mobility curves indicated the tritosome periphery to contain an acid-dissociable group which likely represents the carboxyl group of N-acetylneuraminic acid; this was not conclusively proven, however, since the tritosomes lysed below a pH of 4 in the present system. Total tritosome carbohydrate (anthrone-positive material as glucose equivalents) was 0.19 mg/mg tritosome protein while total sialic acid was 3.8 µg (11.4 nmol)/mg tritosome protein.
A tritosome "membrane" fraction was prepared by osmotic shock, homogenization, and sedimentation. Approximately 25% of the total tritosome protein was present in this fraction. Analysis by gas-liquid chromatography and amino acid analyzer showed the following carbohydrate composition of the tritosome membrane fraction (in microgram per milligram tritosome membrane protein): N-acetylneuraminic acid, 14.8 ± 3; glucosamine, 24 ± 3; galactosamine, 10 ± 2; glucose, 21 ± 2; galactose, 26 ± 2; mannose, 31 ± 5; fucose, 7 ± 1; xylose, 0; and arabinose, 0. The results indicate that the tritosome periphery is characterized by external terminal sialic acid residues and an extensive complement of glycoconjugates. Essentially all the tritosome N-acetylneuraminic acid is located in the membrane and about 53% of it is neuraminidase susceptible.