At external concentration of 50 microM, L-methionine was rapidly taken up by hepatocytes, whereas almost no S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) was removed from the incubation medium. SAM did not enter the intracellular water space but equilibrated with a very small pool, which was most likely to be situated on the external side of the plasma membrane. Methyl groups from external L-methionine, but not from external SAM, were incorporated into total and nuclear RNA. A significant incorporation of methyl groups into phospholipids occurred not only with methionine but also with SAM. After subfractionation of hepatocytes it became evident that methyl groups from SAM were mainly incorporated into plasma-membrane phospholipids, and that phospholipid methylation in other cellular compartments resulted from contamination with plasma membrane. The pattern of methylation of the various phospholipid species with SAM as precursor was different from that obtained with L-methionine. In contrast with external L-methionine, external SAM did not enter the intracellular SAM pool. According to these results a transport system for SAM does not exist in rat hepatocytes, although methyl groups from external SAM can be incorporated into plasma-membrane phospholipids from the outside.
- © 1982 London: The Biochemical Society