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J Cell Sci. 1988 May;90 ( Pt 1):59-71.

A Dictyostelium mutant with severe defects in alpha-actinin: its characterization using cDNA probes and monoclonal antibodies.

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Max-Planck-Institutes for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Federal Republic of Germany.


Cells of a Dictyostelium discoideum mutant deficient in binding a monoclonal antibody to alpha-actinin have previously been shown to grow and develop similarly to the wild type and to exert unimpaired chemotaxis as well as patching and capping of membrane proteins. Here we show that the normal 3.0 kb message for alpha-actinin is replaced in the mutant by two RNA species of approximately 3.1 and 2.8 kb. The 3.1 kb RNA was recognized by DNA fragments from all parts of the coding region, while the 2.8 kb RNA hybridized to all but a 3'-terminal fragment. Proteins synthesized in the mutant were analysed using four monoclonal antibodies that in the wild type specifically recognize the 95 x 10(3) Mr polypeptide of alpha-actinin. Cleavage mapping indicated that the binding sites of these antibodies are distributed over a region comprising more than half of the alpha-actinin polypeptide chain. In the mutant, three of the antibodies faintly labelled two polypeptides of 95 x 10(3) Mr and 88 x 10(3) Mr; the fourth antibody, which binds closest to one end of the polypeptide chain, faintly labelled the 95 x 10(3) Mr polypeptide only. The 88 x 10(3) Mr polypeptide most probably lacks the C-terminal portion of alpha-actinin. The binding of an antibody that recognized both polypeptides was quantified by a radio-immuno competition assay using wild-type alpha-actinin as a reference. In a mutant cell extract containing total soluble proteins the antibody binding activity was decreased to 1.1% when compared with wild-type extract. After their partial purification and SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis the mutant 95 x 10(3) Mr and 88 x 10(3) Mr polypeptides were barely detectable as Coomassie Blue-stained bands, indicating that in the mutant not only certain epitopes of alpha-actinin were altered but the entire molecule is almost completely lacking. When the fitness of mutant cells relative to wild type was determined during growth in nutrient medium, a slight disadvantage for the mutant was indicated, by finding selection coefficients between 0.03 and 0.05.

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