Rabbit mammary-gland prolactin (Prl) receptors in the microsomal fraction were solubilized in 7.5 mM-Chaps) or 1% Triton X-100 and analysed by ion-exchange chromatography using DEAE-Bio-Gel A. Prl receptors in the presence of 7.5 mM-Chaps were separated into two different fractions (Fr. A and B), both of which showed identical specificity of binding to peptide hormones as those in the Chaps or Triton extract. oPrl and human growth hormone (hGH) bound to the same site, but other non-lactogenic hormones (follicle-stimulating hormone, oGH, luteinizing hormone and insulin) failed to bind to the Prl receptors. The dissociation constant (Kd) for Prl binding to the receptors in Fr. A was about 50% of those in Fr. B, suggesting that the rabbit mammary gland contains two types of Prl receptors, one with a high, and one with a low, Kd for Prl binding. A decrease in the concentration of Chaps in the column buffer to 4 mM caused aggregation of the receptors in Fr. A. H.p.l.c.-gel filtration, using Shim pack 150 and 300 columns connected in series, separated the receptor as a protein with an Mr of 74,000 +/- 4,900 (mean +/- S.D.) in the presence of 5 mM-Chaps, or of 36,800 +/- 2,100 in the presence of 7.5 mM-Chaps. Sucrose-gradient-centrifugation analysis showed that the Prl-receptor complexes in the presence of 5 mM-Chaps were sedimented between gamma-globulin and bovine serum albumin (5.56 +/- 0.22 S). As the Chaps concentration was increased to 7.5 mM, a further peak of the Prl-receptor complexes (4.01 +/- 0.23 S) appeared below ovalbumin. The present data suggest that the binding subunit causes the monomeric subunit to aggregate with itself or with another specific associated protein of similar Mr.

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