The level of charge heterogeneity in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) was examined by high-resolution denaturing two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis. Hepa 1clc7 cell cytosolic fraction was photoaffinity-labeled with 2-azido-3-[125I]iodo-7,8-dibromodibenzo-p-dioxin and applied to isoelectric focusing (IEF) tube gels. After optimization of focusing conditions a broad peak of radioactivity was detected in the apparent pI range of 5.2–5.7. IEF tube gels were subjected to sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by visualization of the radiolabeled AhR by autoradiography; three distinct isoforms were detected. The same 2D electrophoretic isoform pattern was obtained when the AhR from Hepa lclc7 was photoaffinity-labeled in cell culture. BPrC1 cells, a mutant line derived from Hepa 1clc7 cells, contain an AhR that is unable to bind to DNA. Photoaffinity-labeled BPrCl cytosolic fractions were subjected to 2D gel electrophoretic analysis resulting in essentially the same molecular weight and isoform pattern as seen in Hepa 1clc7 cytosol. This result would suggest that if a mutation is present in the BPrCl AhR it has not caused a significant change in its IEF pattern, although a small shift in the pI values was observed. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of photoaffinity-labeled cytosolic fractions from HeLa cells, the rat liver tumor cell line McA-RH7777, and buffalo rat thymus revealed three isoforms, essentially the same isoform pattern as in Hepa 1clc7 cells. This would indicate that despite the considerable molecular weight polymorphism between species the level of charge heterogeneity is highly conserved.
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