Membrane extracts from chicken smooth muscle contain, along with filamin, vinculin and alpha actinin, a group of polypeptides that have the ability to interact with the "barbed end" of actin filaments. These low molecular mass polypeptides were designated as HA1 (Wilkins, J.A., and S. Lin, 1986, J. Cell Biol., 102:1085-1092). In this study, polyclonal antibodies raised against the HA1 preparation were used to study the cellular localization and tissue distribution of these polypeptides. Immunofluorescence experiments revealed a primary localization of staining at the ends of stress fibers on the ventral surface of cultured chicken embryo fibroblasts, i.e., those areas known as the focal adhesions. Specific staining was also seen at the Z-lines of both skeletal muscle myofibrils and cultured embryonic heart cells. Immunoblotting analyses of proteins from different tissues prepared to avoid proteolytic degradation showed a much different pattern than that of HA1 itself. Immunoreactive polypeptides with reduced molecular masses of 200,000 and 150,000 D were found in smooth muscle and fibroblasts while 200 and 60 kD polypeptides were found in cardiac muscle tissue. The antibodies recognized 60- and 31-kD polypeptides on immunoblots of chicken breast muscle. The results from this study strongly suggest that the polypeptides in HA1 arose from proteolysis of high molecular mass molecules. The studies also raise the possibility that immunologically related proteins in muscle and nonmuscle cells may be involved in linking actin filaments to Z-lines and membranes, respectively.

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