The endomembrane system in superficial and intermediate epithelial cells of mammalian urinary bladder was studied by cytochemistry, thin‐section and freeze‐fracture electron microscopy to determine the sites where special forms of membrane differentiation first appear. Glutaraldehyde‐resistant NADH‐ferricyanide reductase, distinctive 11–12 nm intramembrane particles (IMP), and asymmetry of membrane leaflets served as markers of membrane maturation. The three markers were specifically associated with the maturing face of Golgi apparatus and were absent from the remainder of the endomembrane system. Activity of this enzyme was associated with the lateral regions of the maturing face, fusiform vesicles, and the plasmalemma. Asymmetric unit membrane (AUM) plaques were not observed in the Golgi apparatus per se but were present in immature fusiform vesicles that had not detached from the maturing face. When freeze‐fracture replicas and thin sections were compared, randomly arranged 11–12 nm IMP first appeared in maturing face membranes that were adjacent to clusters of “free” polyribosomes in the Golgi apparatus region. The proximity of these polyribosomes suggests that they may be related to the coincident appearance of the 11–12 nm IMP in the maturing face membrane. Our observations support the hypothesis that membranes undergo differentiation during “flow” through compartments of the endomembrane system. The lateral regions of the maturing face of the Golgi apparatus appear to be a critical location for the morphogenesis of plasma membranes in urinary bladder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)