Translation of poly(A)-containing RNA from the female fat body of Drosophila melanogaster in a rabbit reticulocyte cell-free system results in the synthesis of previtellogenin polypeptides (PVs) having higher apparent molecular weights (46,000 and 45,000) than the forms seen after an in vivo pulse labeling. However, when this RNA is translated in the presence of EDTA-stripped microsomal membranes from the dog pancreas, vitellogenin precursors are produced that, upon SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, comigrate with the in vivo forms (apparent molecular weights, 45,000 and 44,000). These processed forms are sequestered within the microsomal lumen, as evidenced by their insensitivity to trypsin digestion. Neither processing nor sequestration occur posttranslationally. In addition, a microsomal membrane fraction derived from Drosophila embryos is able to cotranslationally process the PVs as well as a murine pre-light chain IgG. These observations support a signal-mediated mode of secretion in Drosophila, and suggest that signal sequence recognition and signal peptidase activities are conserved even between mammalian and insect systems.

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