Human placental microvilli were isolated and separated into two fractions by centrifugation in sucrose density gradients. Electron-microscopic morphology and morphometry, the distribution of enzymic activities and the results of sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis of proteins were used to assess the purity of the final preparations and to define their properties. The combined evidence strongly suggested that the preparations contained negligible material that was not plasma membrane. The two fractions of microvilli differed in buoyant density, protein composition, enzyme specific activities and microscopic appearance. Some of these differences were explained by the absence of internal structure in the microvilli of the lighter fraction.
- © 1981 London: The Biochemical Society