The ultrastructure and biochemical composition of cytoplasmic particles that form in chicken embryo fibroblasts during stress have been analyzed. We showed previously that these particles contained the small stress protein, sp 24, and antibodies specific to sp 24 were used here to identify the stress granule. In thin sections, the stress granule was a densely staining, membraneless, cytoplasmic body and appeared as a highly condensed area of cytoplasm in freeze-fracture preparations. Hypotonic swelling of cells before freeze-fracture analysis revealed a basketlike structure composed of interconnecting protein cables. No other proteins could be cross-linked to sp 24 when stress granules were treated with dithiobis-(succinimidyl propionate). High resolution autoradiographic analysis with [3H]uridine failed to identify any associated RNA synthesized in the period immediately before the stress. Thus the stress granule appears to be composed predominantly of sp 24 aggregates. Sp 24 could be purified to homogeneity from the stress granule by solubilization in 8 M urea and anion exchange chromatography.

This content is only available as a PDF.