Treatment of 6-h differentiated Dictyostelium discoideum cells with the nonionic detergent Triton X-100 dissolves away membranes and soluble components, as judged by marker enzyme distributions, leaving intact a cytoskeletal residue that contains approximately 10% of the cell protein and 50% of the actin. Nitrobenzooxadiazo-phallacidin staining for F-actin and electron microscopy of detergent-extracted whole-mounts indicate that the cytoskeletons retain the size and shape of intact cells and contain F-actin in cortical meshworks. The cytoskeletons contain little if any remaining membrane material by morphological criteria, and the plasma membrane enzymes cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase and alkaline phosphatase are absent from the insoluble residue, which retains only 15% of the membrane concanavalin A-binding glycoproteins. This detergent-insoluble residue retains a specific [3H]cAMP-binding site with the nucleotide specificity, rapid kinetics and approximate affinity of the cAMP receptor on intact cells. Upon detergent extraction of cells, the number of cAMP-binding sites increases 20-70%. The binding site is attached to the insoluble residue whether or not the cAMP receptor is occupied at the time of detergent addition. The pH dependence for recovery of the insoluble cAMP-binding site is much sharper than that on intact cells or membranes with an optimum at pH 6.1. Conditions of pH and ionic composition that lead to disruption of the cytoskeleton upon detergent treatment also result in the loss of cAMP binding. During differentiation, the detergent-insoluble cAMP binding increases in parallel with cell surface cAMP receptors and chemotaxis to cAMP.

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