This steroidglycoside, a naturally-occurring surfactant, offers a broad spectrum of applications.
As with CHAPS and octyl-ß-D-glucoside, the non-ionic surfactant digitonin has been successfully used in receptor solubilization.

Due to the non-ionic nature of its polar group and its cholesterol-like structure, the native conformation of various membrane proteins remains intact during the solubilization process. Hence, it has proved possible to isolate, in an extremely gentle fashion, opiate, adenosine, dopamine, CCK, CRF and muscarinergic receptors.

Digitonin is also often used for the investigation of other membrane proteins like e.g. photosystem particles as well as for the isolation or fractionation of mitochondria.

Digitonin is a well-known hemolysis reagent. Beyond it is frequently applied for permeabili¬zation of certain types of cells like blood platelets, hepatocytes, spermatozoa and chromaffine, yeast or tumor cells.

Synonym: Digitin

CAS registry number: [11024-24-1]

Molecular formula: C56H92O29

Relative molecular mass (Mr): 1229.3

Classification: Non-ionic surfactant

Literature specification:
• Critical micellar concentration (CMC): approx. 0.67 – 0.73 mM
• Aggregation number (Na): 60
• Hydrophilic-lipophific balance (HLB): 0.4


Solubilization and Characterization of Receptors

Grigoriadis, D.E., Zaczek, R., Pearsall, D.M. a. De Souza, E.B. (1989) Solubilization of high affinity corticotropin-releasing factor receptors from rat brain: characterization of an active digitonin-solubized receptor complex. Endo¬crinology 125, 3068-77.

Hollis, C.M. a. Strange, P.G. (1989) Solubilization of the D1-dopamine receptor from the caudate nucleus of bovine brain. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 17, 774-5.

Leid, M., Schimerlik, M.I. a. Murray, T.F. (1989) Agonist radioligand interactions with the solu-bilized porcine atrial Ai-adenosine receptor. Mol. Pharmacol. 35, 450-7.

Poyner, D., Bansal, S., Bridsall, N.J.M., Curtis, C., Hulme, E.C. a. Pedder, E.K. (1989) Binding prop¬erties of reconstituted muscarinic receptors in the absence of G-proteins. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 17, 768-9.

Puget, A., Baillat, G., Mazarguil, H., Frances, B. a. Meunier, J. C. (1989) Progress in the purifi-cation of 'Op', the major type of opioid receptor in frog (Rana ridibunda) brain. Adv. Biosci. 75, 5-8.

Raidaru, G., Rinken, A., Jarv, J. a. Lohmus, M. (1989) Chromatographic analysis of Digitalis glycosides and their relation to solubilization of muscarinic receptor. Eesti NSV Tead. Akad. Toim., Keem. 38, 119-24.

Schonwetter, B.S., Luedtke, R.R., Kung, M.P., Billings, J., Kung,H.F. a. Molinoff,P.B. (1989) Characterization of membrane-bound and soluble D2 receptors in canine caudate using [125]IBZM. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 250, 110-6.

Szecowka, J., Hallden, G., Goldfine, I.D. a. Williams, J.A. (1989) Purification of the pancreatic cholecystokinin receptor. Regul. Pept 24, 215-24.

Zhang, X. a. Segawa, T. (1989) Investigation of rat striatal dopamine D-1 receptors solubilized by digitonin with a precipitation method. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 166, 401-10.

Arora, K.K. et al. (1992) Hexokinase receptors: Preferential enzyme binding in normal cells to nonmitochondrial sites and in transformed cells to mitochondrial sites. J. Bioenerg. Biomembr. 24, 47-53.

North, R.A. (2002) Molecular physiology of P2X receptors. Physiol. Rev. 82, 1013-67.

Paila, Y.D. et al. (2005) The cholesterol-complexing agent digitonin modulates ligand binding of the bovine hippocampal serotonin1A receptor. Mol. Membr. Biol. 22, 241-9.

Whitehurst, C.E. et al. (2006) Discovery and characterization of orthosteric and allosteric muscarinic M2 acetylcholine receptor ligands by affinity selection-mass spectrometry. J. Biomolec.. Screen. 11, 194-207.

Salom, D. et al. (2008) Heterologous expression and purification of the serotonin type 4 receptor from transgenic mouse retina. Biochemistry 47, 13296-307.

Solubilization and Characterization of Enzymes

Eilenberg, H., Klinger, E., Przedecki, F. a. Shechter, I. (1989) Inactivation and activation of various membranal enzymes of the cholestreol biosynthetic pathway by digitonin. J. Lipid Res. 30, 1127-35.

Cesura, A.M., Imhof, R., Muggli-Maniglio, D., Picotti, G.B. a. Da Prada, M. (1990) Characteriza-tion of [3H]Ro 16-6491 binding to digitonin solubilized monoamine oxidase-B and purification of the enzyme from human platelets by affinity chromatography. Biochem. Pharmacol. 39, 216-20.

Lanubile, R. et al. (1997) Effect of Brefeldin A on the synthesis and transport of cell wall polysaccharides and proteins in pea root seedlings. J. Experiment. Bot. 48, 1925-33.

Ivanov, A. et al. (2000) Packing of the transmembrane helices of Na,K-ATPase: direct contact between ß-subunits and H8 segment of α-subunit revealed by oxidative cross-linking. Biochemistry 39, 9778-9785.

Solubilization and Characterization of Photosystems/Photosynthesis Pigments

Hermann, P., Hladik, J. a. Sofrova, D. (1988) Effect of detergents on thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts. Photosynthetica 22, 411-22.

Mansfield, R.W. a. Evans, M. C. W. (1988) EPR characteristics of the electron acceptors A0, A1, and (iron-sulfur)X in digitonin and Triton X-100 solubilized pea Photosystem I. Isr. J. Chem. 28, 97-102.

Apostolova, E. a. lvanov, A. (1989) Energy transfer in pea chloroplast membranes after treatment with non-ionic and ionic detergents. Photosynthetica 23, 372-5.

Nelson, N. a. Ben-Shem, A. (2002) Photosystem I reaction center: past and future. Photosynth. Res. 73, 193-206.

Satoh, K. (2003) The identification of the photosystem II reaction center: a personal story. Photosynth. Res. 76, 233-40.

Daum, B. et al. (2010) Arrangement of photosystem II and ATP synthase in chloroplast membranes of spinach and pea. Plant Cell 22, 1299-1312.

Järvi, S. et al. (2011) Optimized native gel systems for separation of thylakoid protein complexes: novel super- and mega-complexes. Biochem. J. 439, 207-14.

Solubilization and Characterization of other Membrane Proteins

Dhugga, K.S. and Ray, P.M. (1991) Isoelectric Focusing of plant plasma membrane proteins. Plant Physiol. 95, 1302-5.

Banerjee, P. et al. (1995) Differential solubilization of lipids along with membrane proteins by different classes of detergents. Chem. Phys. Lipids 77, 65-78.

Reisinger, V. a. Eichacker, L.A. (2006) Analysis of membrane protein complexes by Blue Native PAGE. Practical Proteomics 1-2/2006. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim.

Wittig, I. et al. (2007) High resolution clear native electrophoresis for in-gel functional assays and fluorescence studies of membrane protein complexes. Mol. Cell. Proteomics 6, 1215-25.

Permeabilization of Cells

Kiaira, J.K., Njogu, R.M. (1988) Trypanosoma brucei brucei: the catabolism of glycolytic in-termediates by digitonin-permeabilized bloodstream trypomastigotes and some aspects of regulation of anaerobic glycolysis. Int. J. Biochem. 20, 1165-70.

Bittner, M.A., Habig, W.H. a. Holz, R.W. (1989) Isolated light chain of tetanus toxin inhibits exocy¬tosis: studies in digitonin-permeabilized cells. J. Neurochem. 53, 966-8.

Boschmann, M., Halangk, W. a. Bohnensack, R. (1989) Characterization of mitochondrial func-tions in digitonin-permeabilized rat liver cells. Biomed. Biochim. Acta 48, 645-52.

Haemmerle, T. a. Loeffler, M. (1989) Simultaneous analysis of mitochondrial activity and DNA content in Ehrlich ascites tumor cells by dual parameter flow cytometry. Histochemistry 93, 207-12.

Joshi, M.S., Gowda, L.R., Katwa, L.C. a. Bhat, S.G. (1989) Permeabilization of yeast cells (Kluy-veromyces fragilis) to lactose by digitonin. Enzyme Microb. Technol. 11, 439-43.

Lineberger, B., Dawicki, D.D., Agarwal, K.C., Kessimian, N., a. Steiner, M. (1989) Permeabiliza-tion of platelets: an investigation of biochemical, ultrastructural and functional aspects. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1012, 36-45.

Noland, T.D. a. Olson, G.E. (1989) Calcium-induced modification of the acrosomal matrix in digitonin-permeabilized guinea pig spermatozoa. Biol. Reprod. 40, 1057-66.

Vercesi, A.E. et al. (1991) Digitonin permeabilization does not affect mitochondrial function and allows the determination of the mitochondrial membrane potential of Trypanosoma cruzi in situ. J. Biol. Chem. 266, 14431-4.

Hagstrom, J.E. et al. (1997) Nuclear import of DNA in digitonin-permeabilized cells. J. Cell Science 110, 2323-31.

Liu, J. et al. (1999) Use of digitonin-permeabilized cells in studies of steroid receptor subnuclear trafficking. Methods 19, 403-9.

Wilson, G.L. et al. (1999) Nuclear import of plasmid DNA in digitonin-permeabilized cells requires both cytoplasmic factors and specific DNA sequences. J. Biol. Chem. 274, 22025-32.

Yamada, H. et al. (2001) Ca2+-dependent exocytosis of L-glutamate by αTC6, clonal mouse pancreatic α-cells. Diabetes 50, 1012-20.

Miyamoto, K. et al. (2008) Reversible membrane permeabilization of mammalian cells treated with digitonin and its use for inducing nuclear reprogramming by Xenopus egg extracts. Cloning Stem Cells 10, 535-42.

Berlowska, J. et al. (2009) Pyruvate Decarboxylase activity assay in situ of different industrial yeast strains. Food Technol. Biotechnol. 47, 96-100.

Further Applications

Bai, C., Slife, C.W., Aw, T.Y. a. Jones, D.P. (1989) Fractionation and analysis of mitochondria with polycarbonate membrane filters. Anal. Biochem. 179, 114-9.

Hovius, R., Lambrechts, H., Nicolay, K. a. De Kruijff, B. (1990) Improved methods to isolate and subfractionate rat liver mitochondria. Lipid composition of the inner and outer membrane. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1021, 217-26.

Ottolenghi, C. et al. (1991) Separation of two populations of fish hepatocytes by digitonin infusion: some metabolic patterns and hormonal responsiveness. Can. J. Zoology 69, 427-35

Yamada, H. et al. (1994) Dystroglycan is a binding protein of laminin and merosin in peripheral nerve. FEBS Lett. 352, 49-53.

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