Chicken phosvitin was prepared from egg yolk by a variety of published methods, including a modification of our own original procedure. Yolk granules and all phosvitin preparations have been previously found to contain major phosphoproteins at Mr 40,000 and 33,000 and minor satellite components when electrophoresed on polyacrylamide gradient gels and stained with Stains-all. However, only our current preparation contained three additional phosphoproteins (Mr 18,000, 15,000 and 13,000) that are also present in yolk granules. Our current phosvitin preparation also appeared to have additional components when compared with other preparations by size-exclusion and anion-exchange chromatography. Particularly complex but entirely reproducible patterns were obtained by hydrophobic-interaction chromatography. However, a cross-referencing of fractions eluted by size-exclusion chromatography to the other procedures employed, including gel electrophoresis, reinforced the notion that unfractionated chicken phosvitin contains at least five major components, designated B, C, E1, E2 and F for the Mr 40,000, 33,000, 15,000, 18,000, and 13,000 phosphoproteins, respectively. Stoichiometric considerations lead us to suggest that vitellogenin I gives rise to phosvitins C and F, vitellogenin II gives rise to phosvitin B, and vitellogenin III gives rise to either phosvitin E1 or E2, but not both. Thus, a fourth, as yet undetected, vitellogenin may exist for the chicken.

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