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J Membr Biol. 1994 Jun;140(3):215-23.

Membrane topology of insulin receptors reconstituted into lipid vesicles.

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Department of Medical Anatomy, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Insulin receptors were incorporated into liposomes by two different procedures, one using dialysis and one using detergent removal by Bio-Beads. Receptor incorporation was analyzed by gradient centrifugation and electron microscopy. Reconstituted receptors projected up to 12 nm above the membrane and exhibited a T-shaped structure compatible with that previously described for the solubilized receptor. Insulin binding and autophosphorylation experiments indicated that approx. 50% of the receptors were incorporated right-side out. Such random orientation was confirmed by immunogold labeling of the alpha- and the beta-subunit of the receptor. Immunogold labeling of the C-terminus of the beta-subunit indicates that it resides about 6 nm off the membrane, while two alpha-subunit epitopes were labeled at about twice this distance, confirming that the alpha-subunit is harbored in the cross-bar of the T-structure.

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