The relationship of protein synthesis to megakaryocyte maturation has been studied in guinea pigs in vivo. Guinea pigs were injected with a single dose of [35S]methionine. Megakaryocytes and platelets were isolated daily for 4 days, and proteins from both cells were isolated by DEAE-Sephacel chromatography and analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and fluorography. All proteins in megakaryocytes corresponding to stained bands on the SDS- PAGE gels were radiolabeled at 3 hours after injection. The greatest loss of radioactivity from the megakaryocytes occurred between 1 and 3 days after injection. Only trace labeling of platelet proteins was seen at 3 hours, representing almost entirely three bands at molecular weights 47,000, 52,000, and 66,000. At 24 hours only about 13% of the maximal labeling was present, but not all proteins were labeled. The maximal labeling was at 3 days. The pattern of labeling of platelets at 3 days was identical to that of megakaryocytes at 3 hours. The protein pattern of nonmegakaryocytic marrow cells was different from that of the platelets and megakaryocytes. Data presented here suggest that most protein synthesis in megakaryocytes is completed at least 24 hours before release of the platelets to the circulation, and suggest some specificity in the proteins that are synthesized at the terminal stages of maturation.

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