Newly synthesized phospholipids, labeled with either [14C]choline, [3H]myo-inositol, or [33P]phosphate, partioned preferentially (greater than 80% of total incorporated radioactivity) in a Golgi membrane subfraction, although the cognate content subfraction contained a relatively large amount of secretory lipoproteins. The labeling pattern was the same for all phospholipids tested in the two subfractions. An active exchange process of polar lipids between Golgi membranes and Golgi secretory lipoproteins is postulated as a plausible explanation for these findings. Less than half of all Golgi lipoprotein particles have the density of serum VLDLs and a similar, but not identical, biochemical composition. The remaining lipoprotein particles are characterized by a continuous spectrum of sizes, and (to the extent tested) by a lipid and protein composition different from that of serum VLDLs and HDLs. Results obtained in control experiments rule out the possibility that the heterogeneous population of Golgi lipoprotein particles is an artefact caused by our preparation procedures. It is assumed that these heterogeneous particles are immature precursors of both VLDLs and HDLs.

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