Resident peritoneal macrophages of the mouse, cultivated for 3 d, have been studied by quantitative subcellular fractionation using differential centrifugation and density equilibration in linear gradients of sucrose. Density equilibration experiments were carried out on untreated cytoplasmic extracts, on cytoplasmic extracts treated with digitonin or sodium pyrophosphate, and on cytoplasmic extracts derived from cells cultivated for 24 h in the presence of Triton WR-1339. The enzyme distributions obtained distinguished six typical behaviors characteristic of distinct subcellular entities. Acid α-galactosidase and other acid hydrolases displayed the highest average velocity of sedimentation and equilibrium density. Culturing in a medium that contained Triton WR-1339 markedly decreased their density, most likely as a result of Triton WR-1339 accumulation within lysosomes. Cytochrome c oxidase and the sedimentable activity of malate dehydrogenase showed a narrow density distribution centered around 1.17, very similar under all the experimental situations; their rate of sedimentation fell within the range expected for mitochondria. Catalase was particle-bound and exhibited structure-linked latency (80 percent); it was released in soluble and fully active form by digitonin, but this required a much higher concentration than in the case of lysosomal enzymes. Differences relative to all the other enzymes studied suggest the existence of a particular species of organelles, distinctly smaller than mitochondria, and possibly related to peroxisomes. Many enzymes were microsomal in the sense that the specific activities, but not the yields, were greater in microsomes than in other fractions obtained by differential centrifugation. These enzymes were distinguished in three groups by their properties in density equilibration experiments. NAD glycohydrolase, alkaline phosphodiesterase I, and 5'-nucleotidase had low equilibrium densities but became noticeably more dense after addition of digitonin. The other microsomal enzymes were not shifted by digitonin, in particular N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase and galactosyltransferase, which otherwise equilibrated at the same position in the gradient. We assign the digitonin-sensitive enzymes to plasma membranes and possibly to related endomembranes of the cells, and the two glycosyltransferases to elements derived from the Golgi apparatus. Finally, α-glucosidase, sulphatase C, NADH cytochrome c reductase, NADPH cytochrome c reductase, and mannosyltransferase, equilibrated at a relatively high density but were shifted to lower density values after addition of sodium pyrophosphate. These properties support their association with elements derived from the endoplasmic reticulum.

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