Distribution and subcellular localization of high-molecular-weight microtubule-associated protein-2 expressing exon 8 in brain and spinal cord

Bridget Shafit-Zagardo, Nellie Kalcheva, Dennis Dickson, Peter Davies, Yvonne Kress

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The expression of high-molecular-weight (HMW) microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP-2) expressing exon 8 (MAP-2+8) was examined by immunoblotting during rat brain development and in sections of human CNS. In rat brain, HMW MAP-2 + 8 expression was detected at embryonic day 21 and increased during postnatal development. In adult rats, HMW MAP-2+8 comigrated with MAP-2a. In human adult brain, HMW MAP-2+8 was expressed in select neuronal populations, including pyramidal neurons of layers III and V of the neocortex and parahippocampal cortex, pyramidal neurons in the endplate. CA2 and subiculum of the hippocampus, and the medium-sized neurons of the basal ganglia. In the cerebellum, a subpopulation of Golgi neurons in the internal granular cell layer and most Purkinje cells were also stained. In the spinal cord staining was observed in large neurons of the anterior horn. Staining was present in cell bodies and dendrites but not in axons. At the ultrastructural level, HMW MAP-2+8 immunoreactivity was observed on mitochondrial membranes and in postsynaptic densities (PSDs) of some asymmetric synapses in the midfrontal cortex and spinal cord. Immunoblots of proteins isolated from enriched mitochondrial and PSD fractions from adult human frontal lobe and rat brains confirmed the presence of HMW MAP-2+8. The presence of HMW MAP-2 + 8 in dendrites and in close proximity to PSDs supports a role in structural and functional attributes of select excitatory CNS synapses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-873
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1997



  • Microtubule-associated protein-2 expressing exon 8
  • Microtubule-associated protein-2a
  • Postsynaptic densities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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