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The significance of cytochrome c redistribution during the subcellular fractionation of rat liver

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1. The redistribution of mitochondrial cytochrome c during homogenization and subcellular fractionation of the liver was studied. Chromatographically homogeneous 14C-labelled cytochrome c was added in different amounts to liver suspensions immediately before homogenization and the adsorption of radioactivity was determined in cytochrome c fractions extracted at pH4·0, first with water and then with 0·15m-sodium chloride. 2. The soluble cytochrome c remaining in the cell sap after subcellular fractionation was 7% of the calculated amount of cytochrome c passing through a soluble form during the whole process. The total amount of cytochrome c released in a soluble form and subsequently redistributed was 25–30% of the total liver cytochrome c. 3. In the standard microsomal fraction the cytochrome c extracted with water originated entirely from redistribution whereas that extracted with 0·15m-sodium chloride was 80% endogenous. In the mitochondrial fraction both cytochrome c pools were truly endogenous, so that practically none of the mitochondrial cytochrome c released to the soluble cell sap was readsorbed by the mitochondria. 4. These results support our former hypothesis that the cytochrome c extracted with 0·15m-sodium chloride at pH4·0 from the standard microsomes represents the cytochrome c newly synthesized in situ, since it does not originate from redistribution. However, the microsomal pool extracted with water cannot be an intermediate in the postulated transfer of cytochrome c from the microsomal particles to the mitochondria, since this pool arises from redistribution of mitochondrial cytochrome c.


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