The region between the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi complex has been studied in a variety of insect cell types in an attempt to find a marker for the exit gate or gates from the ER. We have found that the smooth surface of the rough endoplasmic reticulum near Golgi complex transitional elements has beadlike structures arranged in rings at the base of transition vesicles. They occur in all insect cell types and a variety of other organisms. The beads can be seen only after staining in bismuth salts. They are 10-12 nm in diameter and are separated from the membrane and one another by a clear halo giving them a center to center spacing of about 27 nm. The beads are not sensitive to nucleases under conditions which disrupt ribosomes or remove all Feulgen staining material from the nucleus. Under conditions similar to those used to stain tissue, bismuth does not react in vitro with nucleic acids. The component of the beads that stains preferentially with bismuth is therefore probably not nucleic acid.

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