Rhodamine-conjugated antibodies specific for phenylalanine hydroxylase and serum albumin were employed as cytochemical probes to identify these two proteins in H4 hepatoma cells and in isolated rat hepatocytes. Each fluorescent antibody stained the cells specifically and in a distinctive manner. In both cell types, albumin staining was discretely localized in cytoplasmic and in H4 cultures varied somewhat from cell to cell. Evidence from cultures of REB15 cells, a strain derived by cloning H4 cells in tyrosine-free medium, suggested that the staining variability of H4 cells could reflect a variability in phenylalanine hydroxylase content. Hydrocortisone-treated H4 cells and REB15 cultures contain increased amounts of phenylalanine hydroxylase; and all cells in the culture appear to be induced by the hormone. Evidence was presented to show that the albumin visualized within the isolated hepatocytes had been synthesized by these cells, and, furthermore, that quantitatively nearly all intracellular albumin in the isolated rat hepatocytes appeared to be entrained in the secretion pathway (analogous data already exist for H4 cells [Baker, R.E., and R. Shiman. 1979. J. Biol. Chem. 254:9633-9639]). By scoring specific fluorescence, 86 and 98% of the H4 cells and 89 and 98% of the isolated hepatocytes were found to contain phenylalanine hydroxylase and albumin, respectively. Therefore, almost all cells in each population appeared to synthesize both proteins. An implication of these findings is that in rat virtually all liver parenchymal cells must synthesize both phenylalanine hydroxylase and albumin.

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