Extruded trichocysts are composed of a family of proteins with molecular weights between 15,000 and 20,000. We have used heat treatment and affinity chromatography on fluphenazine-Sepharose to purify calmodulinlike proteins from whole cells and from extruded trichocysts. The purified protein from trichocysts is indistinguishable from that of whole cells; it is heat-stable, activates brain phosphodiesterase in a Ca++-dependent fashion, changes mobility on SDS polyacrylamide gels in the presence of Ca++, contains 1 mol of trimethyllysine/17 kdaltons, and has the amino acid composition characteristic of calmodulins. Calmodulin is a major component of purified, extruded trichocysts, of which it represents between 1 and 10% by mass. The other proteins of the trichocyst also resemble calmodulin in several properties. Possible roles for calmodulin in the Ca++-activated extrusion of trichocysts is discussed.

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