Experimental basis for separation of membrane vesicles by preparative free-flow electrophoresis.
In practice it has been possible to separate membrane particles of different origins but of similar chemical composition by preparative free-flow electrophoresis. Examples include the vacuolar (tonoplast) and plasma membranes of plants and membranes derived from the cis and trans regions of the rat liver Golgi apparatus. Yet, when analyzed for intrinsic molecules that might contribute to significant differences in surface charge, the separated membranes were surprisingly similar. As more information was generated, it became apparent that the membranes with greatest electrophoretic mobility (i.e. lysosomes, rightside-out tonoplast vesicles and membranes from the trans region of the Golgi apparatus), where those membranes with an inherent ability to acidify their interiors. By so doing, the vesicles generate a membrane potential, negative outside, which might serve as a basis for enhanced electrophoretic mobility. To test the hypothesis, tonoplast membranes were incubated with ATP to drive proton import or with monensin to dissipate the ATP-supported proton gradient. With ATP, mobility was enhanced. Also, when ATP-treated vesicles were analyzed in the presence of monensin, the ATP effect on mobility was reversed. Similarly with Golgi apparatus, mobility of the most electrophoretically mobile portions of the separation was enhanced by ATP and the ATP effect was reversed with monensin. A trans origin of the vesicles was verified by assay of the trans Golgi apparatus marker, thiamine pyrophosphatase. Finally, incubation with ATP (and reversal by monensin) was employed as an aid to the free-flow electrophoretic separation of kidney endosomes from complex mixtures. These lysosomal derivatives also are capable of acidification of their interiors in an ATP-dependent process and of generating, at the same time, a negative (outside) membrane potential. The findings provide both an experimental basis to enhance membrane separations by preparative free-flow electrophoresis and, at the same time, a theoretical basis to help explain why certain membranes of very similar overall chemical composition may be separated by electrophoretic methods.
Morré, DJ; Lawrence, J; Safranski, K; Hammond, T; Morré, DM
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