Molecular Cell Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Aggregation factor, the macromolecular complex which mediates species-specific aggreagation of dissociated sponge cells, was isolated from several species, partially characterized, and visualized by electron microscopy. All factors were large fibrous complexes with a backbone and side chains or arms. In some factors, the backbone is linear. In others it is circular and the complex appears as a sunburst with arms extending like rays from the circle. The size and location of the polysaccharide chains have been studied using purified preparations of Microciona prolifera. “Sunbursts” treated with ethylenediaminetraacetate (EDTA) for 4 weeks at 0°C dissociate into 3 protein- and polysaccharide-containing components. Sodium dodecyl sulfate does not cause the sunburst to dissociate nor does it inhibit dissociation in the presence of EDTA suggesting that dissociation is not due to hydrolytic enzymes. The dissociation products were tractionated on a 977-Å pore size micropore glass column. Fifteen percent of the material is excluded and appears in the electron microscope as the central circle of the sunburst. Digestion of the circles with 10-3 M dithiothreitol (DTT) and 0.5 mg/ml proteinase K for 72 h at 37°C produces 2 polysaccharide chanis of 65,000 and 6,000 daltons as fractionated and sized on a 233-Å pore size micropore glass column using Pharmacia dextrans as standards. The included fractions of the EDTA-treated material are subunits of the arms which contain 70% of the polysaccharide. A single polysaccharide of 6,000 daltons as measured on 233-Å size glass beads and Sephadex G-75 is released from these subunits by proteinase digestion. Pharmacia dextrans are used as standard on both columns. We calculate that there would be four 65,000-dalton chains and one hundred 6,000-dalton chains per circle and fifty 6,000-dalton chains per arm. The third component of the EDTA-treated preparation is partially included on the column. It appears as linear fibrils in the electron microscope and contains polydisperse polysaccharides of several-hundred-thousand daltons. It may be an impurity since there is apparently less than 1 of the large polysaccharide chains per sunburst.
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