With the goal of isolating and identifying plasma membrane vesicle populations from epithelial cells of the rat exorbital lacrimal gland, we have designed an analytical fractionation of homogenates of the gland parenchyma. This fractionation utilizes separation procedures based on three independent physical properties of subcellular particles: sedimentation coefficient, density, and density after interaction of membrane cholesterol with digitonin. A commonly accepted marker for basal-lateral membranes, Na-K-ATPase, is associated with at least two physically distinct membrane populations. One population can be identified as basal-lateral membrane fragments on the basis of its fractional and specific contents of Na-K-ATPase; it accounts for 50% of the total Na-K-ATPase activity, enriched 29-fold with respect to the initial homogenate. With these values we calculate that the sample of basal membranes has been purified 60-fold with respect to the initial homogenate. The remaining Na-K-ATPase activity appears to be associated, at three- to fivefold lower specific activities, with intracellular membrane populations. We speculate that these populations have been derived from the Golgi complex.
- Copyright © 1983 the American Physiological Society