Incubation of mouse thymocytes with 10μM monensin for 1 hour induces morphological alterations characterized by the extensive dilatation and vacuolization of the Golgi complex. This effect is used to study the transport and utilization of labelled sugar nucleotides into intracellular vesicles by using thymocytes whose plasma membrane has been permeabilized by ammonium chloride treatment. It is demonstrated that monensin stimulates the incorporation of labelled sialyl, fucosyl, galactosyl, and N-acetylglucosaminyl residues. This enhanced incorporation is not due to a direct effect of monensin on glycosyltransferase activities themselves but is a consequence of a higher entry and accumulation of labelled sugar nucleotides in the dilated vesicles.

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