The organization of intermediate-sized filaments (IF) of the cytokeratin type was studied in cultures of PtK2 cells in which typical IF structures are maintained during mitosis, using a monoclonal antibody (KG 8.13). This antibody reacts, in immunoblotting experiments, with the larger of the two major cytokeratin polypeptides present in these cells but, using standard immunofluorescence microscopy procedures, does not react with the cytokeratin filaments abundant in interphase cells, in striking contrast to various antisera and other monoclonal cytokeratin antibodies. In the same cell cultures, however, the antibody does react with cytokeratin filaments of mitotic and early postmitotic cells. The specific reaction with cytokeratin filaments of mitotic cells only is due to the exposure of the specific immunologic determinant in mitosis and its masking in interphase cells. Treatment of interphase cells with both Triton X-100 as well as with methanol and acetone alters the cytokeratin filaments and allows them to react with this monoclonal antibody. A similar unmasking was noted after treatment with buffer containing 2 M urea or low concentrations of trypsin. We conclude that the organization of cytokeratin, albeit still arranged in typical IF, is altered during mitosis of PtK2 cells.

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