The G protein of vesicular stomatitis virus was implanted in the apical plasma membrane of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells by low pH-dependent fusion of the viral envelope with the cellular membrane. The amount of fusion as determined by removal of unfused virions, either by tryptic digestion or by EDTA treatment at 0 degree C, was 22-24% of the cell-bound virus radioactivity. Upon incubation of cells after implantation, the amount of G protein as detected by immunofluorescence diminished on the apical membrane and appeared within 30 min on the basolateral membrane. At the same time some G protein fluorescence was also seen in intracellular vacuoles. The observations by immunofluorescence were confirmed and extended by electron microscopy. Using immunoperoxidase localization, G protein was seen to move into irregularly shaped vacuoles (endosomes) and multivesicular bodies and to appear on the basolateral plasma membrane. These results suggest that the apical and basolateral domains of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells are connected by an intracellular route.

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