It has been found that a high-speed supernatant fraction from Xenopus oocytes extracted in the cold will form a clear, solid gel upon warming. Gel formation occurs within 60 min at 18 degrees-40 degrees C, and is, at least initially, temperature reversible. Gelation is strictly dependent upon the addition of sucrose to the extraction medium. When isolated in the presence of ATP, the gel consists principally of a 43,000-dalton protein which co-migrates with Xenopus skeletal muscle actin on SDS-polyacrylamide gels, and a prominent high molecular weight component of approx. 250,000 daltons. At least two minor components of intermediate molecular weight are also found associated with the gel in variable quantities. Actin has been identified as the major consituent of the gel by ultrastructural and immunological techniques, and comprises roughly 47% of protein in the complex. With time, the gel spontaneously contracts to form a small dense aggregate. Contraction requires ATP. In the absence of exogenous ATP, a polypeptide which co-migrates with the heavy chain of Xenopus skeletal muscle myosin becomes a prominent component of the gel. This polypeptide is virtually absent from gels which have contracted in ATP-containing extracts. It has also been found that Ca++ is required for gelation in oocyte extracts. At both low and high concentrations of Ca++ (defined as a ratio of Ca++/EGTA in the extraction medium), gelation is inhibited.

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