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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 1984 Aug;5(4):431-42.

Crystallization of intramembrane particles in rabbit sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles by vanadate.


Sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membranes isolated from rabbit skeletal muscle appear in freeze-fracture as 0.15-0.2 micron vesicles. The concave fracture surface (P-face) contains a dense population of 8.5 nm particles that were previously identified as the Ca2+-transport ATPase. The convex surface (E-face) is mostly smooth, displaying an occasional particle but no complementary arrays of pits. Incubation of the vesicles at 4 degrees C in calcium-free solutions containing 5 mM Na3VO4 induces the formation of two-dimensional crystalline arrays of the Ca2+, Mg2+-ATPase, accompanied by structural changes visible by freeze-etch electron microscopy. Most vesicles elongate into tubules 60-80 nm in diameter and the 8.5 nm intramembrane particles of the P-face become regularly organized into parallel ridges. The ridges are coiled around the tubules in right-handed helices, oriented at 50-60 degrees angle to the long axis of the tubules. The particles repeat along the rows at about 5.5 nm and the rows repeat at 10.5-11.0. Occasionally the ridges seem to break up into 8.5 nm particles. Parallel furrows are visible on the (convex) E-face of the tubules. In high resolution replicas, the furrows are resolved into rows of pits that are complementary images of the ridges. Deep etching and rotary shadowing reveal oblique crests on the protoplasmic surface, consisting of dimeric particles close to 8.5 X 5.5 nm in size, in which each monomer can frequently be resolved into two structural domains. These data suggest that vanadate induces a conformational change in the Ca2+-transport ATPase, with crystallization of the intramembrane particles.

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