The retinyl palmitate content of the postnuclear membrane fraction from 10 Morris hepatomas, their host rat livers, one acetylaminofluorene-induced rat liver hepatoma, and the host liver and of regenerating rat liver was measured by reversephase high-pressure liquid chromatography of the chloroform:methanol extracts. Membranes from the hepatoma tissue contained less than detectable levels of retinyl acyl esters, whereas membranes from host liver tissue and regenerating liver contained levels of retinyl palmitate within normal ranges. The amount of cellular retinol-binding protein was also decreased considerably in cytosols from 9618 and 7777 hepatomas. The ratio of endogenous retinyl phosphate to the polyisoprenoid dolichyl phosphate available for mannosylation in an assay containing postnuclear membranes and guanosine dephospho[14C] mannose was decreased by a factor of 3 to 10 in hepatoma tissue. Such change in ratio was not attributable to specific changes in retinyl phosphate mannose-synthesizing activity, but it appeared to be related to the vitamin A deficiency condition of the membrane from tumors. As for membranes from vitamin A-deficient liver tissue, postnuclear membranes from rat cystic hepatocarcinoma, Morris 7777, 3924A1-1, and 5123D-1-2 transplantable rat hepatomas and guinea pig line 10 hepatoma all synthesized a mannolipid with intermediate hydrophobic properties between retinyl phosphate mannose and dolichyl phosphate mannose and not normally found in liver tissue. These alterations in patterns of lipid intermediates may be responsible for altered glycosylation of glycoproteins in neoplastic cells. In conclusion, the present investigation establishes that hepatoma cell membrane is in a status of vitamin A and of retinyl phosphate depletion, while dolichyl phosphate contents appear similar to host liver membrane.

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