Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Donald Y. Shirachi

First Committee Member

Marvin H. Malone

Second Committee Member

Anthony J. Trevor

Third Committee Member

Francis W. Sayre


Since all chemical and electrical input into the cell / occurs via its plasma membrane, many pharmacological agents and hormones initiate their effects by interacting with receptor sites on the plasma membrane or by passing through the cell membrane and interacting with other membranes within the cell. Generally, the precise mechanisms by which these events occur remain relatively unclear. It was thought for many years that the cell membrane was a relatively static structure which allowed molecules to enter the cell at a rate dependent upon their degree of lipid solubility. However, more recently an increasing body of evidence suggests that cellular membranes are dynamic structures hosting many enzymatic activities and that many drugs or hormones can mediate intracellular effects via these membrane enzyme systems.


Mammalian brain AChE from the caudate nucleus was chosen as the specific membrane protein to be investigated. Studies were initiated on the rationale that subcellular fractionation and the solubilization of AChE from membrane fractions under various experimental conditions would secure these general goals; (i) to obtain a stable aqueous solution of AChE of high specific activity and yield which would provide the basis of further purification and characterization studies, and (ii) to elucidate some of the basic physicochemical relationships of AChE to membrane components.