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J Supramol Struct. 1980;13(4):457-66.

Purification of human interleukin 1.


Interleukin I (IL-1) is a lymphocyte stimulant released by human monocytes cultured for 18-24 hours in tissue culture medium containing 5% serum and the non-specific immunostimulant lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Human IL-1 is found in the conditioned medium in a low molecular weight (approximately 13,000) and a high molecular weight (approximately 85,000) form. The high MW activity may result from the formation of a complex between IL-1 and serum constituents. During the course of purification, the low MW IL-1 activity is often recovered in a high MW form. Hollow fiber diafiltration and membrane ultrafiltration has been found to rapidly separate low MW IL-1 from all measurable protein with a yield of 4% of the original activity. The IL-1 which converts to the high MW form during the purification is recoverable, 21% of the original activity, but contains small amounts of serum proteins. Isoelectric focusing (IEF) of the low MW IL-1 resulted in a very highly purified sample which was analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). Utilizing a new staining procedure which detects less than 1 ng of protein per band, the IEF-purified IL-1 revealed trace quantities (less than 1 ng) of a slowly migrating protein similar to immunoglobulin and no other bands. There were no bands which corresponded with the known electrophoretic mobility of IL-1. Since the samples applied to the gel contained significant biological activity, this result implies that human IL-1 is biologically active in picogram quantities.

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