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J Neurosci Res. 1992 Nov;33(3):408-17.

Neuromuscular junctions contain NP185: the multifunctional protein is located at the presynaptic site.

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Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CUNY, New York 10029.


The NP185 polypeptide (AP3) is a multifunctional component isolated from brain endocytic vesicles, which binds to tubulin and clathrin light chains, decoated vesicles, synaptic vesicles, and the synaptosomal plasma membrane (Su et al., 1991). The NP185 molecules are expressed during avian cerebellar synaptogenesis and appear to function in CNS regions rich in synaptic terminals (Perry et al., 1991). In this report we describe double-labelling experiments with avian embryonic striated muscle fibers demonstrating the exclusive presence of the brain-specific protein at the neuromuscular junction. We used indirect rhodamine immunofluorescence labeling with a monoclonal antibody (mAb-8G8) to mark the location of NP185 in muscle combined with fluorescein-alpha-bungarotoxin to mark the postsynaptic location of the acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). We show that the distribution of both NP185 and AChRs has an overall correlation, but the location of NP185 is circumscribed to presynaptic structures adjacent but not overlapping with postsynaptic structures displaying the AchRs. To confirm the identity of NP185, the molecule was extracted from both tissues, partially purified, immunoprecipitated, and identified in Western blots with the mAb 8G8. The mAb reacted with an identical 185 kD protein band purified from both tissues. Based on its properties and specific neuronal location, the NP185 molecule may function in motor nerve terminals by screening membrane proteins, identifying areas of the synaptic plasma membrane, and to anchor these elements with structural proteins for their recycling and transport within the neuronal cellular compartments.

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