beta-galactosidase is a ubiquitous lysosomal hydrolase that specifically cleaves terminal beta-galactosyl residues from glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycans, oligosaccharides, and glycolipids. To study the intracellular distribution of this enzyme, we prepared a specific polyclonal antibody to lysosomal beta-galactosidase by immunizing rabbits with a highly purified preparation of beta-galactosidase from rat liver. Using this antibody we employed an immunocytochemical technique (protein A coupled to horseradish peroxidase and diaminobenzidine cytochemistry) and showed that beta-galactosidase is present in all hepatocytes of the rat liver. All types of lysosomes, the rough endoplasmic reticulum, and the specialized region of smooth endoplasmic reticulum known as GERL showed immunoreactivity. This in situ distribution suggests that these organelles are involved in the biosynthesis and intracellular sorting of this lysosomal enzyme.

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