The concentrations of NAD and NADP have been determined in detergent extracts of washed rat liver microsomes. Precautions were taken during the preparation of the microsomes to remove nicotinamide nucleotides from their external surface both by hydrolysis by nucleotide pyrophosphatase (EC 3.6.1.9) and by washing them three times in 0.15 M-Tris/HCl, pH 8.0, to remove soluble proteins which bind these nucleotides. The mannose phosphatase was essentially completely latent, indicating that the microsomes were intact. Assuming these nucleotides are in the cisternae of the microsomes, the concentrations in the cisternae are 240 +/- 25 microM-NAD and 55 +/- 12 microM-NADP. These levels of nucleotides are compatible with both the glucose: NAD+ and the glucose 6-phosphate: NADP+ oxidoreductase activities of hexose phosphate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.47). Since the organ and subcellular distributions of this dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphatase are similar, and Pi stimulates the glucose: NAD+ oxidoreductase activity, it is proposed that the combined action of these two enzymes leads to the reduction of both coenzymes in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. A modification of the colorimetric method of Nisselbaum & Green [(1969) Anal. Biochem. 27, 212-217] for the determination of NADP+ is described. Colour formation is linear with the concentration of NADP+ and is sensitive to less than 0.3 nmol of NADP+.

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