The Mr distribution of phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C in the supernatants isolated from a variety of animal tissues was analysed by high-performance gel-filtration chromatography. In most tissues, at least four peaks of activity were resolved. However, different tissues showed quite marked differences in the distribution of activity between these peaks. In rat heart, lung and kidney, the predominant form had Mr approx. 90000, whereas the predominant form in brain had Mr approx. 290000. In liver, the Mr-90000 form predominated, but this tissue also contained relatively large amounts of a form of Mr approx. 150000. Phospholipase C in these tissues from other animal species gave similar distributions of activity between the peaks. In supernatants prepared from platelets sonicated in the presence of leupeptin (0.5 mM) or EGTA (20 mM), the Mr-290000 form predominated. However, when leupeptin or EGTA (inhibitors of Ca2+-dependent proteinase) was omitted from the sonication buffer, the Mr-290000 form appeared to be replaced by a form of Mr 100000. Similar changes in Mr were not demonstrated with the other tissues. These results may be relevant to the intracellular regulation of phospholipase C, since Ca2+-dependent proteolysis has been reported to occur during platelet activation.

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