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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988 Aug;65(2):982-7.

Identification of surfactant proteolipid SP-B in human surfactant and fetal lung.

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Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0541.


Surfactant proteolipid (SP-B) is one of several hydrophobic peptides detected in organic extracts of pulmonary surfactant and associated with the dramatic surface-active properties of surfactant phospholipids. In the present study human SP-B was identified as a protein with a relative molecular weight (Mr) of 7,500-8,000 under reducing conditions; protein of Mr 18,000 was detected under nonreducing conditions by immunoblot analysis of organic extracts of bovine and human surfactant utilizing an antiserum directed against a 60-amino acid synthetic SP-B peptide. This peptide antiserum was subsequently used to identify SP-B in explant cultures of 18- to 23-wk gestation human fetal lung. Immunoprecipitation of explants labeled with [35S]methionine after 48 h of culture identified proteins of Mr 40,000-42,000, 25,000, and 18,000 after electrophoresis under nonreducing conditions. The Mr 18,000 form was reduced to Mr 7,500-8,000 in the presence of beta-mercaptoethanol. These molecular forms likely represent the SP-B precursor protein, a proteolytic intermediate, and the mature SP-B peptide, respectively. Immunocytochemistry with the peptide antiserum localized SPL(Phe) in granular inclusions in the apical region of type II-like epithelial cells, a pattern of staining similar to that observed for the major surfactant-associated protein of Mr 26,000-38,000 (SP-A). SP-B is a novel pulmonary surfactant-associated protein that is synthesized by the human alveolar type II epithelial cell as an Mr 40,000-42,000 precursor that is subsequently proteolytically processed to Mr 7,500-8,000.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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