Friend erythroleukemia cells, grown in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide for 3 d, synthesize unequal amounts of the two chains (alpha and beta) of spectrin with approximately 15-30% more beta than alpha spectrin. When cells were ruptured by nitrogen cavitation, nascent alpha and beta spectrin were found to be associated with a membranous cell fraction and were not detected in the soluble cytoplasmic cell fraction. Nascent membrane-bound spectrin appeared not to be protected by membranes, since it was susceptible to trypsin degradation in the absence of detergent. On fractionation of cells with 1% Triton X-100, more (1.75-fold) nascent spectrin was found in the Triton-soluble fraction than in the Triton-insoluble fraction (cytoskeleton). In the Triton-soluble fraction, there was 55% more nascent beta spectrin than alpha spectrin, while the cytoskeleton contained nearly equal amounts of alpha and beta spectrin. Cells were pulse-labeled with L-[35S]methionine for 2 min and chase incubated for varying periods of time from 15 to 90 min with nonradioactive L-methionine. Radioactive spectrin accumulated in the Triton-soluble fraction for the first 15 min of chase incubation and then dropped by 25% in the next hour. By contrast, the amount of radioactive spectrin in the Triton-insoluble fraction rose gradually for 1 h of the chase period. This indicates that, in Friend erythroleukemia cells, a pool of membrane-bound spectrin containing an excess of the beta polypeptide is used to form the cytoskeletal system which is composed of equal molar amounts of alpha and beta spectrin. The location of spectrin was determined by immunoelectron microscopy. Small amounts of spectrin were detected in cells not treated with dimethyl sulfoxide and in these cells it was located on the surface membrane and within the cytoplasm. On treatment with dimethyl sulfoxide, complex vacuolar structures containing viruses appeared in the cells. In cells treated with dimethyl sulfoxide for 3 d 30% of the spectrin was near the outer membrane and 25% was associated with vacuolar structures, whereas in cells treated for 5 and 7 d the majority of spectrin (57-61%) was located in the vacuolar areas.

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