The incorporation of 3H‐proline into the secretory ameloblasts of rat molar tooth germs cultured with or without colchicine was studied by light and electron microscope radioautography to determine the function of microtubules in the transport of precursor enamel protein from the rough‐surfaced endoplasmic reticulum (rER) to the Golgi cisternae. The grain counts over the transitional vesicles, which accumulated in various cellular regions with colchicine treatment, continued to increase with chase time, unlike in controls. At 30 and 90 min chase, these counts were significantly higher than in controls. Moreover, the total grain count over the organelles (rER, pale granules, and transitional vesicles), which are positioned before the Golgi cisternae in the synthetic pathway, maintained a significantly higher level at 90 min chase in colchicine‐treated tooth germs than in controls. The transport of synthesized protein to the Golgi cisternae via transitional vesicles was suppressed in colchicine‐treated tooth germs. Some grains appeared with time over pale granular materials that appeared in the intercellular spaces of secretory ameloblasts with colchicine treatment. However, at each chase period, the grain count over pale granular materials was not so high as the count over the enamel in control. The present results indicate that colchicine affects the transport of newly synthesized protein from the rER to the Golgi cisterna via transitional vesicles, probably by interfering with the oriented transport related to microtubular function. It is suggested that the microtubular system may be concerned with the movement of the transitional vesicles.
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