The binding of ribosomes and ribosomal subunits to endoplasmic reticulum preparations of mouse liver was studied. (1) Membranes prepared from rough endoplasmic reticulum by preincubation with 0.5m-KCl and puromycin bound 60–80% of added 60S subunits and 10–15% of added 40S subunits. Membranes prepared with pyrophosphate and citrate showed less clear specificity for 60S subunits particularly when assayed at low ionic strengths. (2) Ribosomal 40S subunits bound efficiently to membranes only in the presence of 60S subunits. The reconstituted membrane–60S subunit–40S subunit complex was active in synthesis of peptide bonds. (3) No differences in binding to membranes were seen between subunits derived from free and from membrane-bound ribosomes. (4) It is concluded that the binding of ribosomes to membranes does not require that they be translating a messenger RNA, and that the mechanism whereby bound and free ribosomes synthesize different groups of proteins does not depend on two groups of ribosomes that differ in their ability to bind to endoplasmic reticulum.

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