Specific antibodies are versatile tools for analyzing cell surface proteins. This study involves the characterization of monoclonal antibodies which are specific for the junctional protein found in the lens fiber cell. This protein can be expected to include regions on the external membrane surface for junction formation, others on the cytoplasmic surface for regulation of junctional properties and, if cell-cell channels are indeed involved, transmembrane domains forming the hydrophilic connection between adjacent cytoplasms. Antibodies to these various regions would provide for an experimental analysis of the junctional protein, e.g., the identification of "active sites" for junction formation. Three monoclonal antibodies specific for the lens junctional protein in the chicken are described here. The first, termed B2, also recognizes the bovine junctional protein, MP26 (5). We have characterized the submolecular specificity of B2 and have found that it binds approximately ten amino acid residues from the C-terminus of MP26. In isolated lens junction preparations, B2 binds to the cytoplasmic surfaces of the lens junctions (both 12 nm and 16 ran thick forms). Thus, we consider MP26 a component of the lens junction. Monoclonal A4, the second antibody considered in detail here, was produced by immunization with lens membranes after treatment with low pH. We have found that lens junctional membranes are separated, or "split," by treatment at pH 2.5-3.0. It appears that A4 binds to the external surface of the junctional membrane; EM studies to confirm this are in progress. In order to map the A4 binding site within the chicken junctional protein and to explore the arrangement of this protein within the membrane, a number of procedures were used to generate fragments of MP26. These included reactions with N-chlorosuccinimide and proteases after acid treatment. Antibody binding to fragments was evaluated with immunotransfer ("Western" procedures. These studies mapped the A4 binding site to the center of the molecule and suggested that MP26 projected externally from the membrane at two different points. These results are consistent with a recent model, based on sequence data (6), for the arrangement of MP26 within the bovine lens membrane.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Kae Ebling i n preparing this manuscript. This work was supported by grant CA 28548 from the National Cancer Institute.