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Åke Lernmark

Principal investigator

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Preparation and characterization of plasma membrane-enriched fractions from rat pancreatic islets


  • ÅKe Lernmark
  • Anne Nathans
  • Donald F. Steiner

Summary, in English

Methods have been developed for the isolation on a semi-micro scale of a plasma membrane-enriched fraction from rat islets of Langerhans. An important feature of these experiments is the use of 125I-labeled wheat germ agglutinin as a specific probe for plasma membrane-containing fractions. The partly purified plasma membrane fraction had a density in sucrose of about 1.10 and was enriched in the activities of 5′-nucleotidase, alkaline phosphatase, sodium-potassium, and magnesium- dependent ATPases and adenylate cyclase. It contained only very low levels of acid phosphatase, cytochrome c oxidase, insulin, and RNA. Further purification was hampered by the relatively small amounts of fresh plasma membrane material that could be obtained from 16-24 rats in each experiment. When islets were prelabeled with radioactive fucose, the plasma membrane-enriched fraction contained radioactivity at a four- to fivefold higher specific activity than the whole islet homogenate. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of plasma membrane-enriched fractions pooled from several experiments revealed a distinctive pattern of protein bands as compared with other less pure fractions. With respect to rapidity, apparent specificity, and easy reversibility of the labeling of the plasma membrane fraction, 125I-wheat germ agglutinin provides a highly useful tool for the detection of microgram quantities of plasma membrane components which should be applicable to many other systems as well.

Publishing year







Journal of Cell Biology





Document type

Journal article


Rockefeller University Press




  • ISSN: 0021-9525