Analysis by means of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (IEF) of [32P]orthophosphate-labeled proteins from mitotic and interphase transformed amnion cells (AMA) has shown that keratins IEF 31 (Mr = 50,000; Hela protein catalogue number), 36 (Mr = 48,500), 44 (Mr = 44,000), 46 (Mr = 43,500), as well as vimentin (IEF 26; Mr = 54,000) are phosphorylated above their interphase level during mitosis. Similar studies of normal human amnion epithelial cells (AF type) confirmed the above observations except in the case of keratin IEF 44 whose relative proportion was too low to be analyzed. Immunofluorescent staining of methanol/acetone-treated mitotic transformed amnion cells with a mouse polyclonal antibody elicited against human keratin IEF 31 showed a dotted staining (with a fibrillar background) in all of the cells in late anaphase/early telophase (characteristic "domino" pattern) and in a sizeable proportion of the cells in other stages of mitosis. Normal mitotic amnion cells on the other hand showed a fine fibrillar staining of keratins at all stages of mitosis. Similar immunofluorescent staining of normal and transformed mitotic cells with vimentin antibodies revealed a fibrillar distribution of vimentin in both cell types. Taken together the results indicate that the transformed amnion cells may contain a factor(s) that modulates the organization of keratin filaments during mitosis. This putative factor(s), however, is most likely not a protein kinase as transformed amnion cells and amnion keratins are modified to similar extents. It is suggested that in general the preferential phosphorylation of intermediate-sized filament proteins during mitosis may play a role in modulating the various proposed associations of these filaments with organelles and other cellular structures.

This content is only available as a PDF.