To identify proteins associated with nicotinic postsynaptic membranes, mAbs have been prepared to proteins extracted by alkaline pH or lithium diiodosalicylate from acetylcholine receptor-rich (AChR) membranes of Torpedo electric organ. Antibodies were obtained that recognized two novel proteins of 87,000 Mr and a 210,000:220,000 doublet as well as previously described proteins of 43,000 Mr, 58,000 (51,000 in our gel system), 270,000, and 37,000 (calelectrin). The 87-kD protein copurified with acetylcholine receptors and with 43- and 51-kD proteins during equilibrium centrifugation on continuous sucrose gradients, whereas a large fraction of the 210/220-kD protein was separated from AChRs. The 87-kD protein remained associated with receptors and 43-kD protein during velocity sedimentation through shallow sucrose gradients, a procedure that separated a significant amount of 51-kD protein from AChRs. The 87- and 270-kD proteins were cleaved by Ca++-activated proteases present in crude preparations and also in highly purified postsynaptic membranes. With the exception of anti-37-kD antibodies, some of the monoclonals raised against Torpedo proteins also recognized determinants in frozen sections of chick and/or rat skeletal muscle fibers and in permeabilized chick myotubes grown in vitro. Anti-87-kD sites were concentrated at chick and rat endplates, but the antibodies also recognized determinants present at lower site density in the extrasynaptic membrane. Anti-210:220-kD labeled chick endplates, but studies of neuron-myotube cocultures showed that this antigen was located on neurites rather than the postsynaptic membrane. As reported in other species, 43-kD determinants were restricted to chick endplates and anti-51-kD and anti-270-kD labeled extrasynaptic as well as synaptic membranes. None of the cross reacting antibodies recognized determinants on intact (unpermeabilized) myotubes, so the antigens must be located on the cytoplasmic aspect of the surface membrane. The role that each intracellular determinant plays in AChR immobilization at developing and mature endplates remains to be investigated.

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