To define the role of cytoplasmic microtubules in the biogenesis of plasmalemma glycoproteins of rat small-intestinal villus cells, we studied the effect of colchicine on the incorporation of L-[1,5,6-3H]fucose into Golgi, lateral basal and microvillus membranes. Colchicine was administered intraperitoneally before or after injection of radioactive fucose. The incorporation of radioactivity into Golgi membranes was little affected by colchicine, which did not prevent the redistribution of most of the labelled glycoproteins from the Golgi complex into other parts of the villus cell. The incorporation of labelled glycoproteins into the microvillus membrane was greatly inhibited by colchicine given 2 h or 10 min before the radioactive fucose: all labelled glycoproteins present in this membrane were equally affected. In contrast, the administration of colchicine considerably increased the incorporation of radioactivity into the lateral basal part of the plasmalemma, and prevented the disappearance of most of the labelled glycoproteins from this membrane at late times after fucose injection. These results suggest that cytoplasmic microtubular structures are important for the polarization of the intestinal villus cell and the biogenesis of the microvillus membrane, although playing little or no role in the movement of membrane components from the Golgi complex to the lateral basal part of the plasmalemma.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.