Calmodulin is present in brush borders isolated from intestinal epithelial cells and is one of the major components of the microvillar filament bundle. Calmodulin was purified from either demembranated brush borders or microvilli by a simple boiling procedure. The boiled supernate derived from the microvillus cores contained one major polypeptide of 20,000 daltons.The supernate from the brush-border preparation contained the 20,000-dalton subunit and a second protein of 30,000 daltons. The 20,000-dalton subunit has been identified as calmodulin by several criteria: (a) heat resistance, (b) comigration with brain calmodulin on alkaline urea gels and SDS gels, both cases in which the 20,000-dalton protein, like calmodulin, exhibits a shift in electrophoretic mobility in the presence of Ca++, and (c) 4--5-fold activation of 3',5'-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase in the presence but not the absence of Ca++. With a cosedimentation assay it was determined that brush-border calmodulin does not bind directly to actin. In the presence of Ca++ (greater than 5 x 10(-7) M) there was a partial release of calmodulin from the microvillus core, along with a substantial conversion of microvillus actin into a nonpelletable from. The dissociation of calmodulin was reversed by removal of Ca++. If microvillus cores were pretreated with phalloidin, the Ca++-induced solubilization of actin was prevented, but the partial dissociation of calmodulin still occurred. The molar ratio of calmodulin:actin is 1:10 in the demembranated brush border and 1:2-3 in the microvillus core. No calmodulin was detected in the detergent-solubilized brush-border membrane fraction.

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