Membrane bound and free polyribosomes were isolated from 20 day old barley endosperms. Sucrose gradient analysis revealed distinct polysomal peaks up to heptamers. The isolated polysomes were active in a cell-free protein synthesizing system employing wheat germ extract. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that proteins with molecular weights ranging from 200,000 to 10,000 daltons were synthesized. A substantial part of the polypeptides coded for by the template associated with the membrane bound polysomes was identified as hordeins by their solubility in 55% isopropanol and by their co-migration with native hordein on SDS-polyacrylamide gels. Membrane bound endosperm polysomes from a barley mutant defective in hordein synthesis produced in the cell-free protein synthesizing system only a small amount of hordein. Conversely membrane bound polysomes from the endosperm of a mutant giving rise to an increased content of some hordein polypeptides catalyzed a preferential synthesis of these polypeptides in vitro. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that the in vitro template activities of the free polyribosomes from the wild type and mutant endosperms were very similar. The resulting polypeptides had not the solubility characteristics of hordeins.