Structural characteristics of the desmin protofilament.
Biochemical investigations of intermediate filaments in soluble or partially assembled forms are often difficult to perform due to the unusual insolubility of most types of intermediate filaments. However, desmin is soluble in 10 mM Tris. The structure of partially soluble native desmin was studied by gel-filtration chromatography and electron microscopy. The lowest molecular weight species of soluble desmin is a flexible rod averaging 53 nm in length. Calculations of f/fmin values from a previously published sedimentation value allowed comparisons with other elongated proteins. These values and the dimensions obtained from electron microscopy suggest that the desmin protofilament contains three or four protein subunits.
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