The intracellular transport of venom proteins has been studied in active and resting venom glands of the snake Vipera palaestinae by electron microscope radioautography after an intra-arterial injection of [3H]leucine. In the active gland, most of the label is initially (10 min) found over the RER. By 30 min, the relative grain density of the Golgi complex reaches its maximum, with concomitant increase in the labeling of the condensing vacuoles. Later on, a steep increase in radioactivity of the secretory granules is observed. At 3 h, these granules, which comprise about 2% of the cell volume, contain 22% of the total grains. At the following hour, their labeling declines and at the same time the radioactivity of the secreted venom is increased. It is concluded that, in the active cell, venom proteins are transported via the Golgi apparatus into membrane-bounded granules which are the immediate source of the secreted venom. An alternative pathway, which involves the RER cisternae as a storage compartment, seems unlikely, since incorporated label does not accumulate in this compartment after prolonged postpulse intervals. The route of intracellular transport of proteins in the resting glands is similar to that of the active ones, but the rate of synthesis and transport is much slower. The present results and earlier data, thus, show that the increase in the rate of secretion after initiation of a new venom regeneration cycle is the result of accelerated rates of both synthesis and transport.

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