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The Journal of biological chemistry

Internal structure of ovomacroglobulin studied by electron microscopy.


PMID 1692326

Abstract

As a model for the molecular structure of proteins belonging to the alpha 2-macroglobulin family, ovomacroglobulin of reptilian origin was studied by electron microscopy in the original tetrameric form as well as in the dissociated forms into half- and quarter molecules. The following aspects of the molecular internal structure which had previously not been known for the homologous human alpha 2-macroglobulin or chicken ovomacroglobulin were revealed. First, the negatively stained tetrameric native protein gave an appearance of a collection of four semi-circular strings placed on the four corners of a molecule. They were connected to each other in the center of a molecule through a set of globular domains which formed a cross-figured subunit contact region. Second, two kinds of active half-molecules prepared either by the reduction of intersubunit disulfide bonds or by the disruption of noncovalent subunit interface had similarly elongated forms having semi-circular units on the two ends, indicating quasi-equivalent subunit arrangement in the two kinds of half-molecules. We thus concluded that the structure of native ovomacroglobulin can be represented by four circular strings each equipped with an extra domain to form the central intersubunit contact region. The results may also be adapted to the internal structure of human alpha 2-macroglobulin because it was sometimes possible to observe similar ring-like internal structure in the human protein.

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