In this study we describe a group of Ca2+-sensitive proteins located in the microvillar region of the human placental syncytiotrophoblast. By following the distribution of proteins between the particulate and supernatant phases of detergent-solubilized microvilli in the presence of defined concentrations of free Ca2+, we demonstrate a class of proteins of subunit molecular weights 72,000, 69,000, 38,000, 36,000, and 32,000 that associate with both the cytoskeleton and lipid at high concentrations of free Ca2+. These proteins can be released from microvilli using EGTA-containing buffers. Although they do not bind to phenyl-Sepharose, they will bind to phospholipids immobilized on phenyl-Sepharose columns in a Ca2+-dependent manner and show a marked preference for phospholipids with negatively charged headgroups. The results provide evidence for a sequence of events which may occur within the microvillus as the localized concentration of intracellular free Ca2+ rises.

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