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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1977 May 15;128(2):190-6.

Characterization of a microvillous membrane preparation from human placental syncytiotrophoblast: a morphologic, biochemical, and physiologic, study.


The syncytiotrophoblast microvillous membrane must play a vital role in many essential functions of the placenta. In order to better understand the functional characteristics of this membrane, we have investigated an isolated membrane preparation by a variety of techniques. Electron microscopic observations showed membranous structures similar to microvilli of intact placental villi in size, shape, and microfilamentous content. Similarities in colloidal iron staining and transferrin localization were also shown. The preparation was enriched in enzymes characteristic of surface membranes and diminished in enzymes characteristic of intracellular organelles. Sialic acid content was also increased. SDS gel electrophoresis revealed the presence of a 45,000 molecular weight band, which may be actin. The preparation transported serine, glycine, and alpha-aminoisobutyric acid by a temperature-dependent, saturable process.

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