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J Cell Biol. 1985 Jan;100(1):74-85.

Microtubule-associated protein 2 within axons of spinal motor neurons: associations with microtubules and neurofilaments in normal and beta,beta'-iminodipropionitrile-treated axons.


We have examined the distribution of microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) in the lumbar segment of spinal cord, ventral and dorsal roots, and dorsal root ganglia of control and beta,beta'-iminodipropionitrile-treated rats. The peroxidase-antiperoxidase technique was used for light and electron microscopic immunohistochemical studies with two monoclonal antibodies directed against different epitopes of Chinese hamster brain MAP2, designated AP9 and AP13. MAP2 immunoreactivity was present in axons of spinal motor neurons, but was not detected in axons of white matter tracts of spinal cord and in the majority of axons of the dorsal root. A gradient of staining intensity among dendrites, cell bodies, and axons of spinal motor neurons was present, with dendrites staining most intensely and axons the least. While dendrites and cell bodies of all neurons in the spinal cord were intensely positive, neurons of the dorsal root ganglia were variably stained. The axons of labeled dorsal root ganglion cells were intensely labeled up to their bifurcation; beyond this point, while only occasional central processes in dorsal roots were weakly stained, the majority of peripheral processes in spinal nerves were positive. beta,beta'-Iminodipropionitrile produced segregation of microtubules and membranous organelles from neurofilaments in the peripheral nervous system portion and accumulation of neurofilaments in the central nervous system portion of spinal motor axons. While both anti-MAP2 hybridoma antibodies co-localized with microtubules in the central nervous system portion, only one co-localized with microtubules in the peripheral nervous system portion of spinal motor axons, while the other antibody co-localized with neurofilaments and did not stain the central region of the axon which contained microtubules. These findings suggest that (a) MAP2 is present in axons of spinal motor neurons, albeit in a lower concentration or in a different form than is present in dendrites, and (b) the MAP2 in axons interacts with both microtubules and neurofilaments.

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