1. A liver canalicular plasma-membrane fraction enriched 115-155-fold in five marker enzymes relative to the tissue homogenate was obtained by sonication of liver plasma membranes followed by fractionation in iso-osmotic Nycodenz gradients. 2. Two lateral-plasma membrane fractions were also collected by this procedure; the lighter-density fraction was still associated with canalicular membranes, as assessed by enzymic and polypeptide analysis. 3. The polypeptide composition of the domain-defined plasma-membrane fractions was evaluated. It was demonstrated by immunoblotting that the 41 kDa alpha-subunit of the inhibitory G-protein, associated in high relative amounts with canalicular plasma-membrane fractions, was partially lost in the last stage of purification; however, this subunit was retained by lateral plasma membranes. 4. Antibodies to the proteins of bile-canalicular vesicles were shown to localize to the hepatocyte surface in thin liver sections examined by immunofluorescent and immuno-gold electron microscopy. Two subsets of antigens were identified, one present on both sinusoidal and canalicular plasma-membrane domains and another, by using antisera pre-absorbed with sinusoidal plasma membranes, that was confined to the bile-canalicular domain
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