Morphological studies were carried out on fibroblasts from chick embryo tendons, cells which have been used in a number of recent studies on collagen biosynthesis. The cells were relatively rich in endoplasmic reticulum and contained a well-developed Golgi complex comprised of small vesicles, stacked membranes, and large vacuoles. Techniques were then devised for preparing cell fragments which were penetrated by ferritin-antibody conjuates but which retained the essential morphological features of the cells. Finally, the new procedures were employed to develop further information as to how collagen is synthesized. As reported elsewhere, preliminary studies with ferritin-labeled antibodies showed that prolyl hydroxylase was found in the endoplasmic reticulum of freshly isolated fibroblasts and that procollagen is found in both the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum and the large Golgi vacuoles. In the experiments described here, the cells were manipulated so that amino acids continued to be incorporated into polypeptide chains but assembly of the molecule was not completed because hydroxylation of prolyl and lysyl residues was prevented. The results indicated that these manipulations produced no change in the distribution of prolyl hydroxylase. Examination of the cells with ferritin conjugated to antibodies which reacted with protocollagen, the unhydroxylated form of procollagen, demonstrated that protocollagen was retained in the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum during inhibition of the prolyl and lysyl hydroxylases. Assays for prolyl hydroxylase with an immunologic technique demonstrated that although the enzyme is found within the endoplasmic reticulum, it is not secreted along with procollagen. The observations provided further evidence for a special role for prolyl hydroxylase in the control of collagen biosynthesis.

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