Using a monoclonal antibody generated against striated muscle troponin T, we previously noted the presence of crossreactive components in smooth muscle and non-muscle cells. Since the presence of troponin T in tissues other than striated muscle is controversial, we sought to establish the nature of the crossreaction and to determine the extent of its occurrence. For this study, indirect immunofluorescence microscopy and immunoblot analyses were performed. Crossreactive material was found in diverse cells from the animal, plant and fungal kingdoms. On the basis of morphological distributions, both microtubule-associated and non-microtubule-associated components were revealed. Microtubule-associated components of animal cell lines included a 35 X 10(3) Mr protein, similar in electrophoretic mobility to skeletal troponin T (37 X 10(3) Mr). Reactive components of comparable mobility were observed in immunoblots of brain and cerebellar homogenates. Filamentous staining was observed in a variety of mammalian cells in culture and in cells of vertebrate tissues. Chick cerebellar tissue showed reactions in the neurites of the molecular layer and granule cell bodies. In the plant kingdom, examination of the onion root-tip cells indicated an association of crossreactive components with interphase cortical microtubules, preprophase bands, the mitotic spindle and phragmoplast microtubules. In the fungal kingdom, both interphase and mitotic spindle microtubules in a cellular slime mould were reactive. Non-microtubule-associated components were observed in the centrosphere regions of mitotic sea-urchin eggs, in mitotic and interphase plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum, and in trichocysts and basal bodies of Paramecium tetraurelia. In all systems examined, the troponin T crossreactive components were located in regions or on structures of possible Ca2+ or calmodulin activity, suggesting a possible functional similarity to troponin T.

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