Arrangement of MP26 in lens junctional membranes: Analysis with proteases and antibodies

Peggy Keeling, Keith Johnson, Daryl Sas, Kathleen Klukas, Peter Donahue, Ross Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The major membrane protein of the bovine lens fiber cell is a 26-kilodalton (kD) protein (MP26), which appears to be a component of the extensive junctional specializations found in these cells. To examine the arrangement of MP26 within the junctional membranes, various proteases were incubated with fiber cell membranes that had been isolated with or without urea and/or detergents. These membranes were analyzed with electron microscopy and SDS-PAGE to determine whether the junctional specializations or the proteins were altered by proteolysis. Microscopy revealed no obvious structural changes. Electrophoresis showed that chymotrypsin, papain, and trypsin degraded MP26 to 21-22 kD species. A variety of protease treatments, including overnight digestions, failed to generate additional proteolysis. Regions on MP26 which were sensitive to these three proteases overlapped. Smaller peptides were cleaved from MP26 with V8 protease and carboxypptidases A and B. Protein domains cleaved by these proteases also overlapped with regions sensitive to chymotrypsin, papain, and trypsin. Specific inhibition of the carboxypeptidases suggested that cleavage obtained with these preparations was not likely due to contaminating endoproteases. Since antibodies are not thought to readily penetrate the 2-3 nm extracellular gap in the fiber cell junctions, antibodies to MP26 were used to analyze the location of the protease-sensitive domains. Antisera were applied to control (26 kD) and proteolyzed (22 kD) membranes, with binding being evaluated by means of ELISA reactions on intact membranes. Antibody labeling was also done following SDS-PAGE and transfer to derivatized paper. Both assays showed a significant decrease in binding following proteolysis, with the 22 kD product showing no reaction with the anti-MP26 sera. These investigations suggest that MP26 is arranged with approximately fourfifths of the primary sequence "protected" by the lipid bilayer and the narrow extracellular gap. One-fifth of the molecule, including the C-terminus, appears to be exposed on the cytoplasmic side of the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-228
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Membrane Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • calf lens
  • electrophoretic transfer
  • gap junctions
  • membrane topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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