On aneurally cultured rat primary myotubes, 10% of the acetylcholine receptors (AChR) are found aggregated and immobilized in endogenous clusters. The remaining receptors are diffusely distributed over the cell membrane and the majority of these are free to diffuse in the plane of the membrane. This study correlates the mobility of AChR (as measured with the fluorescence photobleaching recovery technique, FPR) with the detergent extractability of this receptor. Gentle detergent extraction of the cells removes the lipid membrane and the soluble cytoplasmic proteins but leaves an intact cytoskeletal framework on the substrate. Two studies indicate a correlation between mobility and extractability: (a) mobility of diffusely distributed AChR decreases as myotubes age in culture; previous work showed that extractability of AChR decreases as myotubes age in culture (Prives, J., C. Christian, S. Penman, and K. Olden, 1980, In Tissue Culture in Neurobiology, E. Giacobini, A. Vernadakis, and A. Shahar, editors, Raven Press, New York, 35-52); (b) mobility of clustered AChR increases when cells are treated with metabolic inhibitors such as sodium azide (NaN3); extractability of clustered AChR also increases with this treatment. From these results we suggest the involvement of a cytoskeletal framework in the immobilization of AChR on the cell surface.

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