Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Cardiac alpha-crystallin

II. Intracellular localization

  • 30 Accesses

  • 61 Citations


A major component of the soluble fraction of rat heart is a homopolymer (Mr about 400–650 k) of a small protein (Mr about 20 k). This cardiac protein, which is highly homologous to alpha-B-crystallin, was isolated in its native state and visualized by electron microscopy. A homogeneous population of globular particles with an average diameter of about 14–16 nM could be seen using either negative staining or rotary shadowing procedures. The structures were globular in nature with a central depression (torus-like structures). Polyclonal antibodies, raised against the cardiac crystallin, were used for the immunocytochemical localization of the macromolecular complexes. Using fluorescent secondary antibodies, a clear and sharp striation of fixed and permeabilized rat heart myocytes could be observed, similar to that observed with anti-desmin antibodies and characteristic for the central region of the I-band. Cardiac crystallin was not found associated with F-actin in preparations of rat heart myofibrils. On the other hand, it was a major contaminant of cardiac desmin preparations. These observations suggest that cardiac crystallin is involved in the organization of cytoskeletal filaments of the Z-lines.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate


SDS-Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis


Phenyl Methyl Sulfonyl Fluoride


3-Morpholino Propanesulfonic Acid


Octyl Phenoxy Polyethoxyethanol




Bovine Serum Albumin


Fluorescein Isothiocyanate




  1. 1.

    Longoni S, James P, Chiesi M: Cardiac crystallin: isolation and identification. Molec Cell Biochem. In press

  2. 2.

    Bloemendal H: The vertebrate eye lens. Science 197: 127–138,1977

  3. 3.

    Wistow GJ, Piatigorsky J: Lens crystallins: the evolution and expression of proteins for a highly specialized tissue. Ann Rev Biochem 57: 479–504, 1988

  4. 4.

    Dubin RA, Wawrousek EF, Piatigorsky J: Expression of the murine alpha-B-crystallin gene is not restricted to the lens. Molec Cell Biol 9: 1083–1091, 1989

  5. 5.

    Naginemi CN, Baht SP: Alpha-B-crystallin is expressed in kidney epithelial cell lines and not in fibroblasts. FEBS Lett. 249: 89–94, 1989

  6. 6.

    Iwaki T, Kume-Iwaki A, Liem RK, Goldman JE: Alpha-Bcrystallin is expressed in non-lenticular tissues and accumulates in Alexander's disease brain. Cell 57: 71–78, 1989

  7. 7.

    Chiesi M, Ho MM, Inesi G, Somlyo AV, Somlyo AP: Primary role of sarcoplasmic reticulum in phasic contractile activation of cardiac myocytes with shunted myolemma. J Cell Biol 91: 728–742, 1981

  8. 8.

    Bancroft JD, Cook HC: Manual of Histological Techniques, Churchill Livingstone Publ, 1984

  9. 9.

    Lazarides E, Granger BL: Preparation and assay of the intermediate filament proteins desmin and vimentin. Methods Enzymol 85: 488–508, 1982

  10. 10.

    Solaro RJ, Pang DC, Briggs FN: The purification of cardiac myofibrils with Triton X-100. Biochim Biophys Acta 245: 259–262, 1971

  11. 11.

    Schnyder T, Engel A, Lustig A, Wallimann T: Native mitochondrial creatine kinase forms octameric structures. J Biol Chem 263: 16954–16962, 1988

  12. 12.

    Lazarides E, Hubbard BD: Immunological characterization of the subunit of the 100 A filaments from muscle cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 73: 4344–4348, 1976

  13. 13.

    Kranias EG, Solaro RJ: Coordination of cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum and myofilaments by protein phosphorylation. Fee Proc 42: 33–38, 1983

  14. 14.

    O'Shea JM, Rabson RM, Huiatt TW, Hartzer MK, Stroner MH: Purified desmin from adult mammalian skeletal muscle: a peptide mapping comparison with desmins from adult mammalian and avian smooth muscle. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 89: 972–980, 1979

  15. 15.

    Lazarides E: Intermediate filaments as mechanical integrators of cellular space. Nature (London) 283: 249–256, 1980

  16. 16.

    Bloemendal H, Zweers A, Walters H: Self-assembly of lens crystallins in vitro. Nature (London) 255: 426–427, 1975

  17. 17.

    Dunia I, Sen Ghosh C, Benedetti EL, Zweers A, Bloemendal H: Isolation and protein pattern of eye lens fiber junctions. FEBS Lett 45: 139–144, 1974

  18. 18.

    Ramaekers FCS, Dunia I, Dodemont HG, Benedetti EL, Bloemendal H: Lenticular intermediate-size filaments: biosynthesis and interaction with plasma membrane. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79: 3208–3212, 1982

  19. 19.

    Augusteyn RC, Koretz JF: A possible structure for alpha crystallin. FEBS Lett 222: 1–5, 1987

  20. 20.

    Puri N, Augusteyn RC, Owen EA, Siezen RJ: Immunochemical properties of vertebrate alpha crystallins. Eur J Biochem 134: 321–326, 1983

  21. 21.

    Maisel H, Perry MM: Electron microscope observations on some structural proteins of the chick lens. Exp Eye Res 14: 7–12, 1972

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Michele Chiesi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Longoni, S., Lattonen, S., Bullock, G. et al. Cardiac alpha-crystallin. Mol Cell Biochem 97, 121–128 (1990).

Download citation

Key words

  • heart
  • alpha-crystallin
  • Z-line
  • quaternary structure
  • immunocytochemical localization
  • microscopy