Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 1979 Feb 10;254(3):981-6.

The chemistry and biology of thymosin. I. Isolation, characterization, and biological activities of thymosin alpha1 and polypeptide beta1 from calf thymus.


A partially purified extract from thymus tissue termed thymosin Fraction 5 has been shown to reconstitute immunological deficiencies resulting from the lack of thymic function in several animal models, as well as humans with primary and secondary immunodeficiency diseases. Thymosin Fraction 5 consists of a family of polypeptides with molecular weights ranging from 1,000 to 15,000. Several of these polypeptides contribute individually to the biological activity of the parent compound. Two polypeptide components of thymosin Fraction 5, termed thymosin alpha1 and polypeptide beta1, have been characterized chemically and biologically. Thymosin alpha1 is a highly acidic molecule composed of 28 amino acid residues. This polypeptide has potent biological activity and has been found to be 10 to 1,000 times as active as thymosin Fraction 5 in one in vivo and several in vitro bioassay systems designed to measure differentiation and function of thymus-dependent lymphocytes (T cells). Polypeptide beta1, in contrast, is inactive in our bioassay systems, suggesting that it is not involved in thymic hormone action. Sequence analysis and homology studies have indicated that polypeptide beta1, although present in Fraction 5, does not contribute to the biological activity of thymosin Fraction 5.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center