Purified mitochondrial ribosomes (60S) have been isolated from locust flight muscle. Purification could be achieved after lysis of mitochondria in 0.055 M MgCl2. Mitochondrial 60S and cytoplasmic 80S ribosomes were investigated by electron microscopy in tissue sections, in sections of pellets of isolated ribosomes, and by negative staining of ribosomal suspensions. In negatively stained preparations, mitochondrial ribosomes show dimensions of ∼270 x 210 x 215 Å; cytoplasmic ribosomes measure ∼295 x 245 x 255 Å. From these values a volume ratio of mitochondrial to cytoplasmic ribosomes of 1: 1.5 was estimated. Despite their different sedimentation constants, mitochondrial ribosomes after negative staining show a morphology similar to that of cytoplasmic ribosomes. Both types of particles show bipartite profiles which are interpreted as "frontal views" and "lateral views." In contrast to measurements on negatively stained particles, the diameter of mitochondrial ribosomes in tissue sections is ∼130 Å, while the diameter of cytoplasmic ribosomes is ∼ 180–200 Å. These data suggest a volume ratio of mitochondrial to cytoplasmic ribosomes of 1:3. Subunits of mitochondrial ribosomes (40S and 25S) were obtained by incubation under dissociating conditions before fixation in glutaraldehyde. After negative staining, mitochondrial large (40S) subunits show rounded profiles with a shallow groove on a flattened side of the profile. Mitochondrial small subunits (25S) display elongated, triangular profiles.

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