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J Biol Chem. 1989 Dec 5;264(34):20614-9.

Isolation and characterization of a small intestinal surfactant-like particle containing alkaline phosphatase and other digestive enzymes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


Digestive brush-border enzymes in particulate form have been reported in the intestinal lumen in vivo and in medium from organ explants in vitro. It has been suggested that these particles derive from membrane shedding of the apical brush border. This study describes the isolation and characterization of particles derived from the 105,000 x g supernatant fraction of intestinal luminal washings and from light scrapings of the mucosa itself after fat feeding of rats. These fractions were separated in a continuous NaBr gradient, producing a visible band of 1.07-1.08 g/liter density and resulting in a 15-fold enrichment of intestinal alkaline phosphatase in the band fraction. Other brush-border hydrolases were represented in the banded fraction, but at specific activities only 1/5th to 1/36th that of the brush border. The major phospholipid in the fraction was phosphatidylcholine (58 +/- 15%), containing 75% saturated fatty acids. In contrast, the major brush-border phospholipid was phosphatidyl-ethanolamine. These characteristics showed that the particles derived from the lumen and mucosal surface were not identical to fragments of the brush border. Electron microscopy of the banded fraction revealed partially coiled membrane fragments. On sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blots, some proteins (e.g. surfactant protein B, collagenous protein 4) were found in common between the intestinal particles and rat pulmonary surfactant. These data suggest the production of a particle secreted by rat intestine that differs from brush-border membranes and that shares some morphological and biochemical similarities with pulmonary surfactant.

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