Microsomes isolated by differential centrifugation from a rat liver homogenate in 0.88 M sucrose solution have been studied from the biochemical and morphological point of view.
1. Under these experimental conditions, the "total microsome" fraction was obtained by centrifuging the cytoplasmic extract free of nuclei and mitochondria, for 3 hours at 145,000 g. Morphologically, the total microsomes consist mainly of "rough-surfaced membranes" and "smooth" ones.
2. The total microsomes have been divided into 2 subfractions so that the 1st microsomal fraction contains the "rough" vesicles (2 hours centrifugation at 40,000 g) while the 2nd microsomal fraction consists essentially of smooth vesicles, free particles, and ferritin (centrifugation of the supernatant at 145,000 g for 3 hours).
3. By the action of 0.4 per cent sodium deoxycholate in 0.88 M sucrose, it was possible to obtain a pellet for each of the 2 fractions which consisted of dense particles, rich in RNA, poor in lipids, and which represented about 50 to 60 percent of the RNA and 10 to 15 per cent of the proteins.
The results have been discussed taking into consideration the hypothesis of the presence of RNA in the membranes of microsomal vesicles.