A method for the preparation of HeLa cell plasma membrane ghosts is described. The purity of the plasma membrane fraction was examined by phase contrast and electron microscopy, by chemical analysis, and by assay of marker enzymes. Data on the composition of the plasma membrane fraction are given. It was observed that the distribution pattern of 5'-nucleotidase activity among the subcellular fractions differed from that of ouabain-sensitive ATPase. In addition, the specific activity of 5'-nucleotidase did not follow the distribution of the membrane ghosts. Thus, this enzyme would seem unsuitable as a plasma membrane marker. A complete balance sheet for marker enzyme activities during the fractionation is necessary for the calculation of increase in specific activity because the activities of both 5'-nucleotidase and ouabain-sensitive ATPase might change during the fractionation procedures.

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