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Anionized And Cationized Hemeundecapeptides As Probes For Cell Surface Charge And Permeability Studies: Differentiated Labeling Of Endothelial Plasmalemmal Vesicles.

N Ghinea, N Simionescu

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To obtain small membrane markers easily accessible to the charged groups of the cell surface, we prepared, from hemeundecapeptide (HUP), three derivatives that maintain the peroxidatic activity: the anionized hemeundecapeptide, Mr 1,963, estimated diameter 1.68 nm, pl 3.5, for the detection of basic groups; and both a cationized hemeundecapeptide containing predominantly tertiary amino groups, Mr 2,215, estimated diameter 1.75 nm, pl 9.0, and a cationized hemeundecapeptide containing only primary amino groups, Mr 2,271, estimated diameter 1.75 nm, pl 10.6, for labeling acidic residues. The markers were perfused in situ in mice to label the luminal surface of fenestrated endothelium of pancreatic capillaries. Specimens were processed through the cytochemical reaction for peroxidatic activity and examined by electron microscopy. The anionized HUP and HUP (pl 4.85) marked the plasmalemma proper, the coated pits, and the membrane and diaphragms of plasmalemmal vesicles and transendothelial channels. The cationized HUP containing predominantly tertiary amino groups (pl 9.0) decorated all cell surface components with the exception of plasmalemmal vesicles and channels; the latter were, however, labeled by the cationized HUP containing only primary groups (pl 10.6), which suggests that these structures contain on their luminal surface very weak acidic residues of high pKa values. The fact that the membrane of plasmalemmal vesicles can discriminate against permeant cationic macromolecules only up to a pl of approximately 9.0 indicates that in the electrostatic restriction there is a charge limit. In the case of fenestrated capillary endothelium, the upper charge limit seems to be a pl of approximately 9.0. In these vessels, the charge discrimination is effective for molecules as small as 2 nm.