Two of the three major outer layers of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cell wall (W6 and W4) can be solubilized from living cells with sodium perchlorate or other chaotropes and will repolymerize in vitro to form milligram amounts of wall crystals. Conditions for optimal crystalization are presented, and conditions that fail to induce polymerization are exploited to maintain monomers in aqueous solution for ion-exchange chromatography. The four major glycoproteins of the complex (GP1, 1.5, 2, and 3) have in this way been purified to apparent homogeneity and have been characterized morphologically by transmission electron microscopy using the quick-freeze, deep-etch technique and by amino acid composition. Three of the four are hydroxyproline-rich species that copolymerize to form the W6 layer. The fourth (GP1.5) is a glycine-rich species that binds to the interior of the in vitro crystal; it is apparently equivalent to the granules within the W4 layer in situ.

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