A simple procedure is described by which the principal protein component of the eggs and mature ovaries of six decapod crustaceans was isolated in relatively pure form and in large amounts. The component, in all cases, was a lipoprotein (30% lipid) which lacked protein-bound phosphorus and had an average molecular weight of 3.5 × 105. The relatively intense chromatic properties of the crustacean lipoproteins were due to the presence of a carotenoid noncovalently bonded to the lipid and/or protein. Those proteins displaying colors (purple, blue, and green) associated with shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum undergo spectral changes dependent upon solvent conditions. Although these crustacean proteins may not be homologous to the vertebrate lipovitellins, they appear to serve in the same capacity, and generic use of the term “lipovitellin” is thus suggested for the major high-density lipoprotein found within animal eggs. The crustacean lipovitellins appear to offer several advantages for studies of lipoproteins in general and lipoprotein synthesis in particular.
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