The superficial cortical fiber cells of the bovine lens contain membrane-associated proteins of 150,000, 80,000, and 78,000 D that cross-react with antisera prepared against red blood cell (RBC) protein 4.1 (Aster, J. C., G. J. Brewer, S. M. Hanash, and H. Maisel, 1984, Biochem. J., 224:609-616). To further study their relationship to protein 4.1, these proteins were immunoprecipitated from detergent extracts of crude lens membranes with purified polyclonal and monoclonal anti-4.1 antibodies and resolved by SDS PAGE. The electrophoretic mobilities of the lens proteins of 80,000 and 78,000 D were found to be identical to bovine RBC protein 4.1a and protein 4.1b, respectively. One- and two-dimensional peptide mapping revealed that a high degree of structural homology exists among all three of the lens 4.1-like proteins and RBC protein 4.1a and protein 4.1b. Despite the large difference in apparent molecular mass, the 150,000-D lens protein showed only minor peptide map differences. A nitrocellulose filter overlay assay showed that all three of the lens 4.1-like proteins bind to RBC and lens spectrins. We conclude that the bovine lens contains proteins of 80,000 and 78,000 D that are highly similar to protein 4.1 in structure and functional capacity. Additionally, the lens also contains a 4.1 isomorph of 150 kD. Analogous to RBC protein 4.1, these proteins may function in the lens by promoting association of spectrin with actin and by playing a role in the coupling of lens cytoskeleton to plasma membrane.

This content is only available as a PDF.