Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
A protein from Dictyostelium discoideum with an apparent subunit molecular weight of 95,000 daltons (95K protein) was previously identified as an actin-binding protein ‘Hellewell and Taylor, 1979’. In this paper, we present a method for purifying the protein, and characterize some important aspects of its structure and function. Purification of the 95K protein is achieved by fractionation with ammonium sulfate followed by chromatography on DEAE-cellulose, gel filtration on 6% agarose, and final purification on hydroxyapatite. The 95K protein is a dimer, composed of apparently identical subunits. It is a rod-shaped molecule, 38 nm in length, with a Stokes radius of 74 Å. In these structural properties, the 95K protein is similar to muscle and nonmuscle α-actinins. The 95K protein and filamin are equally competent, when compared on a weight basis, to enhance the apparent viscosity of actin as determined by falling ball viscometry. The apparent viscosity of mixtures of the 95K protein and actin is dramatically reduced at pH greater than 7.0 or free ‘Ca2+’ greater than 10-7 M. We also examine the mechanism by which calcium regulates the interaction of the 95K protein and actin. A change in free ‘Ca2+’ induces no detectable change in the quaternary structure of the 95K protein. Our experiments indicate that the 95K protein does not dramatically alter the length distribution of actin filaments in the presence of micromolar free ‘Ca2+’. A large fraction of the 95K protein cosediments with actin in the presence of low free ‘Ca2+’ (ca. 3 × 10-8M), but not in the presence of high free ‘Ca2+’ (ca. 4 × 10-6M). We conclude that increased free ‘Ca2+’ inhibits gelation of actin by the 95K protein by reducing the affinity of the 95K protein for actin. We propose that 95K protein is an important component of the cytoskeletal/contractile system in D. discoideum amoebae.
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