We studied purified bovine factor V (mol wt 330,000) by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) of freeze-dried unstained or negatively contrasted preparations. Freeze-dried molecules revealed discrete shapes ranging from roughly spheroidal (100 to 120 nm) to oblong (140 to 200 nm in length X 50 to 100 nm in width). Oblong shapes could often be resolved into two or three distinct domains, ranging from 60 to 100 nm in diameter. A “satellite” nodular structure (30 to 50 nm in diameter) connected to the main molecule by a thin stalk (approximately 10 nm wide) up to 80 nm in length was occasionally seen. Glutaraldehyde-treated preparations yielded the same shapes as were seen in unfixed preparations but revealed better definition of submolecular features and “satellite” nodules. STEM mass analysis confirmed that each of the different shapes represented a monomolecular form of factor V. Negatively stained images revealed objects having the same general shapes as freeze-dried molecules, although greater detail was evident. Some images suggested that molecules consist of five or more discrete parts. Taken together, these observations indicate that factor V molecules are multidomainal, flexible structures that tend to have an irregular oblong shape with an axial ratio between 3:2 and 2:1.

This content is only available as a PDF.