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, 3 (10), 2249-60

A 135-kd Membrane Protein of Intercellular Adherens Junctions

A 135-kd Membrane Protein of Intercellular Adherens Junctions

T Volk et al. EMBO J.


We report here on a new 135-kd membrane protein which is specifically associated with intercellular adherens-type junctions. This surface component was identified by a monoclonal antibody, ID-7.2.3, raised against detergent-extracted components of membranes of chicken cardiac muscle rich in intercalated discs. The antibodies stain extensively adherens junctions in intact cardiac muscle and in lens, as well as in cultured cells derived from these tissues. In living cultured cells only very little immunolabelling was obtained with ID-7.2.3 antibodies, probably due to the limited accessibility of the antibodies to the intercellular gap. However, upon the removal of extracellular Ca2+ ions a dissociation of the junction occurred, leading to the rapid exposure of the 135-kd protein. Immunoelectron microscopic labelling of EGTA-treated, or detergent-permeabilized cells indicated that the antigen is found along the plasma membrane and highly enriched in contact areas. Double immunolabelling for both the 135-kd protein and vinculin pointed to the close association of the two in intercellular junctions and to the apparent absence of the former protein from the vinculin-rich focal contacts of cultured cells and from dense plaque of smooth muscle. Immunoblotting indicated that the 135-kd protein is present in many tissues but is particularly enriched in heart, lens and brain.

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