Subunit structure of the purified human placental insulin receptor: Intramolecular subunit dissociation by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

T. R. Boyle, J. Campana, L. J. Sweet, J. E. Pessin

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25 Scopus citations


Insulin receptors purified from human placental membranes by gel-filtration and insulin-agarose affinity chromatography were found to be composed of eight different high molecular weight complexes as identified by nonreducing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The subunit stoichiometry of these different high molecular weight forms of the insulin receptor were determined by comparisons of silver-stained gel profiles with the autoradiograms of 125I-insulin specifically cross-linked to the α subunit and γ-32P]ATP specifically autophosphorylated β subunit gel profiles. Two-dimensional SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the absence and presence of reductant confirmed the subunit stoichiometries as α2β2, α2ββ1, α21)2, α2β, α2β1, α2, αβ, and β, where α is the M(r) = 130,000 subunit, β is the M(r) = 95,000 subunit, and β1 is the M(r) = 45,000 subunit. Treatment of the insulin receptor preparations with oxidized glutathione or N-ethylmaleimide prior to SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis increased the relative amount of the α2β2 complex concomitant with a total disappearance of the α2β, α2β1, α2, and free β forms. The effects of oxidized glutathione were found to be completely reversible upon extensive washing of the treated insulin receptors. In contrast, the effects of N-ethylmaleimide were totally irreversible by washing, consistent with known sulfhydryl alkylating properties of this reagent. The formation of these lower molecular weight insulin receptor subunit complexes was further demonstrated to be due to SDS/heat-dependent intramolecular sulfhydryl-disulfide exchange occurring within the α2β2 complex. These studies demonstrate that the largest disulfide-linked complex (α2β2) is the predominant insulin receptor form purified from the human placenta with the other complexes being generated by proteolysis and by internal subunit dissociation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8593-8600
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1985
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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