Actin and myosin of rabbit pulmonary macrophages are influenced by two other proteins. A protein cofactor is required for the actin activation of macrophage myosin Mg2 ATPase activity, and a high molecular weight actin-binding protein aggregates actin filaments (Stossel T.P., and J.H. Hartwig. 1975. J. Biol. Chem. 250:5706-5711)9 When warmed in 0.34 M sucrose solution containing Mg2-ATP and dithiothreitol, these four proteins interact cooperatively. Acin-binding protein in the presence of actin causes the actin to form a gel, which liquifies when cooled. The myosin contracts the gel into an aggregate, and the rate of aggregation is accelerated by the cofactor. Therefore, we believe that these four proteins also effec the temperature-dependent gelation and aggregation of crude sucrose extracts pulmonary macrophages containing Mg2-ATP and dithiothreitol. The gelled extracts are composed of tangled filaments. Relative to homogenates of resting macrophages, the distribution of actin-binding protein in homogenates of phagocytizing macrophages is altered such that 2-6 times more actin-binding protein is soluble. Sucrose extracts of phagocytizing macrophages gel more rapidly than extracts of resting macrophages. Phagocytosis by pulmonary macrophages involves the formation of peripheral pseudopods containing filaments. The findings suggest that the actin-binding protein initiates a cooperative interaction of contractile proteins to generate cytoplasmic gelation, and that phagocytosis influences the behavior of the actin-binding protein.

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