Isolation of rat serum alpha 1-microglobulin. Identification of a complex with alpha 1-inhibitor-3, a rat alpha 2-macroglobulin homologue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Alpha 1-Microglobulin (alpha 1-m), or protein HC, a low molecular weight plasma protein with immunoregulatory properties, was isolated from rat serum by affinity chromatography using Sepharose-coupled monoclonal anti-alpha 1-m antibodies. High molecular weight forms of alpha 1-m were then separated from the low molecular weight alpha 1-m by gel chromatography of the eluted proteins. The apparent Mr (28,000), the charge heterogeneity, the N-linked carbohydrate, and yellow-brown chromophore suggest that the low molecular weight alpha 1-m is the serum counterpart to urinary alpha 1-m, which was purified previously. A high molecular weight complex of alpha 1-m was also isolated by the gel chromatography. It was homogeneous as judged by nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The molecule was bound by antibodies against human alpha 2-macroglobulin, and experiments with antisera against the three alpha-macroglobulin variants in rat serum, alpha 1-macroglobulin, alpha 2-macroglobulin, and alpha 1-inhibitor-3 (alpha 1I3) suggested that alpha 1I3 was the complex-partner of alpha 1-m. An antiserum raised against high molecular weight alpha 1-m was then used to isolate the complex-partner of alpha 1-m from rat serum with affinity chromatography, and this molecule was positively identified as alpha 1I3 by its physicochemical properties. Gel chromatography of the alpha 1I3.alpha 1-m complex suggested a molecule with an Mr of 266,000. On sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, however, it migrated as three major molecular species with apparent molecular weights of 224,000, 205,000, and 194,000 and several minor species of both higher and lower molecular weights, suggesting a complex subunit structure. alpha 1-m and alpha 1I3 could be detected in all three major species by Western blotting, and NH2-terminal amino acid sequencing suggested a molar ratio of 1:1 of alpha 1-m and alpha 1I3 in all three species. alpha 1I3.alpha 1-m was colorless, did not show light absorbance beyond 300 nm which is typical of low molecular weight alpha 1-m and was electrophoretically homogeneous, suggesting that it lacks the chromophore. Finally, the serum concentrations of the alpha 1I3.alpha 1-m complex and free alpha 1-m were determined as 0.16 and 0.010 g/liter, respectively. Thus, alpha 1I3.alpha 1-m constitutes 1-3% of the total alpha 1I3 in rat serum (w/w) and approximately 60% of the total alpha 1-m.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medicinal Chemistry


  • Alpha-Globulins/isolation & purification, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Chromatography, Gel, Chromatography, Ion Exchange, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Immunoelectrophoresis, Two-Dimensional, Molecular Sequence Data, Molecular Weight, Protease Inhibitors/blood, Protein Binding, Radioimmunoassay, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, alpha-Macroglobulins/isolation & purification
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16150-16157
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 1990 Sep 25
Publication categoryResearch