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Exp Cell Res. 1991 Feb;192(2):622-30.

Isolation and characterization of hemidesmosomes from bovine corneal epithelial cells.

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Department of Molecular Biology, School of Science, Nagoya University, Japan.


The hemidesmosome (HD) is a specialized cell-to-substratum junction of stratified and complex epithelia which is characterized by a cytoplasmic plaque to which intermediate filaments (IFs) are anchored. To identify and characterize HD constituents systematically, we have developed a procedure to isolate and fractionate HDs. When bovine corneal epithelium is peeled off from the extracellular matrix stroma, HDs attached to the basal lamina are left behind, together with tufts of cytokeratin IFs attached to the cytoplasmic HD plaques. After rinsing these residual basal cell elements with EDTA, the HDs could be mechanically detached from the stroma and collected by centrifugation. The fraction obtained was examined biochemically and electron microscopically, showing enrichment of HD structures as well as of a prominent 230-kDa polypeptide, the "pemphigoid antigen" known to be located in the HD plaque. In addition, the HD fraction revealed, besides residual amounts of corneal cytokeratins, major polypeptides of Mr 120, 180, 200, 230, and 480 kDa, of which the first three appeared to be glycoproteins. Using the isolated HDs for immunization, we prepared monoclonal antibodies specific for the 230- and 180-kDa polypeptides, respectively, and showed that both were exclusively located in HDs. This method for isolating HDs and the availability of antibodies to HD proteins will be useful in studies of the molecular organization of HDs and make HD research independent from human autoimmune antibodies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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