Treatment of rats with 0.5-25 mumol/100 g body weight of colchicine for 1 h or more caused an inhibition of hepatic protein synthesis. This effect was not seen if animals were exposed to colchicine for less than 1 h. The delayed inhibition of protein synthesis affected both secretory and nonsecretory proteins. Treatment with colchicine (15 mumol/100 g) for 1 h or more caused the RNA content of membrane-bound polysomes to fall but did not change the polysomal profile of this fraction. By contrast, the total RNA content in the free polysome cell fraction was increased, and this was due to the presence of more ribosomal monomers and dimers. Electron microscope examination of the livers from rats treated for 3 h with colchicine showed an accumulation of secretory vesicles within the hepatocytes and a general distention of the endoplasmic reticulum. Administration of radioactive L-leucine to the rats led to an incorporation of radioactivity into two forms of intracellular albumin which were precipitable with antiserum to rat serum albumin but which were separable by diethylaminoethyl-cellulose chromatography. One form has arginine at the amino-terminal position and is proalbumin, and the other form, which more closely resembles serum albumin chromatographically, has glutamic acid at its amino terminus. Only proalbumin was found in rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum fractions and in a Golgi cell fraction wich corresponds morphologically to mostly empty and partially filled secretory vesicles. However, in other Golgi cell fractions which were filled with secretory products, both radioactive proalbumin and serum albumin were found. This indicates that proalbumin is converted to serum albumin in these secretory vesicles just before exocytosis. Colchicine delayed the discharge of radioactive albumin from these filled secretory vesicles and caused an accumulation of both proalbumin and serum albumin within these cell fractions.

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