The transverse distribution of enzyme proteins and phospholipids within microsomal membranes was studied by analyzing membrane composition after treatment with proteases and phospholipases. Upon trypsin treatment of closed microsomal vesicles, NADH- and NADPH-cytochrome c reductases as well as cytochrome b5 were solubilized or inactivated, while cytochrome P-450 was partially inactivated. When microsomes were exposed to a concentration of deoxycholate which makes them permeable to macromolecules but does not disrupt the membrane, the detergent alone was sufficient to release four enzymes: nucleoside diphosphatase, esterase, beta-glucuronidase, and a portion of the DT-diaphorase. Introduction of trypsin into the vesicle lumen inactivated glucose-6-phosphatase completely and cytochrome P-450 partially. The rest of this cytochrome, ATPase, AMPase, UDP-glucuronyltransferase, and the remaining 50% of DT-diaphorase activity were not affected by proteolysis from either side of the membrane. Phospholipase A treatment of intact microsomes in the presence of albumin hydrolyzed all of the phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, and 55% of the phosphatidylcholine. From this observation, it was concluded that these lipids are localized in the outer half of the bilayer of the microsomal membrane; Phosphatidylinositol, 45% of the phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin are tentatively assigned to the inner half of this bilayer. It appears that the various enzyme proteins and phospholipids of the microsomal membrane display an asymmetric distribution in the transverse plane.

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