A nuclear antigen was detected in the mouse liver nonhistone protein fraction by using antibodies to whole liver cells. The antigen was purified to homogeneity from perchloric acid extracts of liver tissue. It gave a single band corresponding to tool wt 21,000 in sodium dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis. Amino acid and carbohydrate analysis showed predominance of the acidic amino acids, lack of proline, and absence of carbohydrate.
Immunofluorescence staining of liver sections confirmed the nuclear localization of the antigen. Its tissue distribution was studied by using radioimmunoassay. Of the various tissues extracted for analysis, the liver contained the highest amounts of the antigen, about 1 μg/mg of solubilized liver protein. Other tissues examined showed 2-4 percent of the amount of antigen present in the liver. Two transplantable hepatomas in C3H/HeJ and C57L/J mice, respectively, and three spontaneous C3H hepatomas showed greatly decreased levels of the antigen compared to normal liver. The amount of antigen in hepatomas varied from nondetectable to 2 percent of the amount of antigen found in the livers of the mice. The antigen was also found in the blood.
The antigen was found in high concentrations (up to 13 mg/ml) in the urine of normal mice. This suggests identity with the previously known mouse urinary protein (MUP). In addition to the extremely high urinary output, the properties found to be shared by MUP and the nuclear antigen included similar serum concentrations (2-60 μg/ml), a sex difference with lower values in females, same molecular size as determined by gel filtration, and immunological identity. The nuclear localization of MUP and its disappearance from hepatomas suggest that it may have an important regulatory function.