Molecular forms of chicken embryo acetylcholinesterase in vitro and in vivo. Isolation and characterization

R. L. Rotundo, D. M. Fambrough

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83 Scopus citations


The four molecular forms of chick embryo leg muscle acetylcholinesterase have been isolated by velocity sedimentation; their apparent sedimentation coefficients are 19.5 S, 11.5 S, 7.1 S, and 5.4 S. All four forms are glycoproteins, exhibit the same K(m) for acetylcholine, and are inhibited to the same extent by specific inhibitors of acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase. Treatment of the 19.5 S form of acetylcholinesterase with trypsin generates an array of molecular forms, several of which have sedimentation coefficients identical with the naturally occurring forms. Collagenase treatment of the 19.5 S acetylcholinesterase results in a somewhat different pattern of acetylcholinesterase forms including a novel 20.6 S form. Only the 19.5 S acetylcholinesterase is sensitive to collagenase treatment. Our results indicate that the several acetylcholinesterase forms share a common catalytic subunit, and suggest that the molecular forms of acetylcholinesterase in the chick represent different ensembles of a common monomer. In culture, the muscle cells contain only the 11.5 and 7.2 S acetylcholinesterase forms; however, they also secrete substantial amounts of enzyme into the medium. These secreted acetylcholinesterases have sedimentation coefficients of 9 S and 15 S. The relative abundance of the different acetylcholinesterase molecular forms changes during muscle development, both in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that the assembly and distribution of this family of membrane glycoproteins is developmentally regulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4790-4799
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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