A mitogenic polypeptide, previously identified in Sertoli cells of the prepuberal mouse (Feig, L. A., A. R. Bellvé, N. Horbach-Erickson, and M. Klagsbrun, 1980, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 77:4774-4778), now has been shown to exist in Sertoli cells of the adult mouse and in the seminiferous epithelium of several other mammalian species, including the rat, guinea pig, and calf. The levels of this seminiferous growth factor (SGF) are not appreciably reduced in adult mouse testes following hypophysectomy. SGF purified from either the adult mouse or newborn calf seminiferous epithelium has a molecular weight (Mr) of 15,700 and a pl between 4.8 and 5.8, when exposed to denaturing conditions. Furthermore, SGF from these two mammalian species probably has few exposed hydrophobic domains and has a strong propensity to aggregate into multiple, high Mr species. A purification sequence based on these biochemical properties has enabled a greater than 350-fold enrichment of SGF activity from the calf seminiferous epithelium. The protocol involves a sequence of: (a) ammonium sulfate precipitation, (b) DEAE-cellulose ion exchange chromatography, (c) gel filtration chromatography on Bio-Gel P150 in 1.0 M ammonium acetate, (d) hydrophobic chromatography on dodecyl agarose, and (e) gel filtration chromatography in 6.0 M guanidine hydrochloride. Subsequent analysis of this purified preparation by SDS PAGE, followed by silver staining, reveals approximately 7 polypeptides with Mr between 14,000 and 20,000.

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