Homogenates of baby-hamster kidney cells and rat embryo fibroblasts prepared by nitrogen cavitation contain a small population of slowly sedimenting mitochondria or mitochondrial fragments, which contaminate the microsomal fraction. This appears to limit the resolution of surface membrane and endoplasmic reticulum on magnesium-containing dextran gradients. The microsomal material and mitochondria can, however, be completely separated on a 10–60% (w/w) sucrose zonal gradient containing a 30% sucrose plateau. On magnesium-containing dextran gradients this mitochondria-free microsomal material can be resolved into at least two surface membrane fractions and at least two endoplasmic reticulum fractions. Comparison of polyoma virus-transformed and normal baby-hamster kidney cells reveals some interesting differences in their microsomal fractionation patterns and the characteristics of the Na+/K+-Mg2+ adenosine triphosphatase of their surface membranes, in particular a tenfold lower Km in the virus-transformed cells. The fractionation patterns of normal and spontaneously transformed rat embryo fibroblasts are also briefly discussed, particularly in relation to the significance of the observation that both the surface membrane and endoplasmic reticulum from these cells can be subfractionated.
- © 1972 London: The Biochemical Society