In many vertebrate nonmuscle cells, the microfilament subunit protein, actin, exists as two isoforms, called beta and gamma, whose sequences differ only in their amino-terminal regions. We have prepared a peptide antibody specifically reactive with the amino-terminal sequence of gamma actin. This antibody reacted with nonmuscle actin as determined by Western blots of SDS gels, and reacted with the gamma, but not the beta, nonmuscle actin isoform as shown by Western blots of isoelectric focusing gels. In immunofluorescence experiments, the gamma peptide antibody stained microfilament bundles, ruffled edges, and the contractile ring of a variety of cultured cells, including mouse L cells, which have previously been reported to contain only the beta actin isoform (Sakiyama, S., S. Fujimura, and H. Sakiyama, 1981, J. Biol. Chem., 256:31-33). Double immunofluorescence experiments using the gamma peptide antibody and an antibody reactive with all actin isoforms revealed no differences in isoform localization. Thus, at the level of resolution of light microscopy, we have detected the gamma actin isoform in all microfilament-containing structures in cultured cells, and have observed no subcellular sorting of the nonmuscle actin isoforms.

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