The tonofilament-associated protein antigens recognized in epithelial cells by a group of six monoclonal antibodies have been studied by immunofluorescence and gel immunoautoradiography. The monoclonal antibodies were generated against detergent insoluble cytoskeleton extracts from a cultured simple epithelium derived cell line, Ptk1 cells. They show various tissue specificities, and while they all recognize components at the low end of the molecular weight range for intermediate filament proteins, they confirm that single antibody species can react with multiple polypeptides of different molecular weights in the tonofilament complex. The monoclonal antibodies described here demonstrate the presence of a simple epithelium antigenic determinant associated with intermediate filaments that is not detectable in the specialized cells of squamous and keratinizing epithelia but can reappear in such cells after transformation.

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