Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Res. 1991 Aug 16;556(2):181-95.

Neurofilament reassembly in vitro: biochemical, morphological and immuno-electron microscopic studies employing monoclonal antibodies to defined epitopes.

Author information

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine [Neuropathology], University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-4283.


The reassembly process of purified native (phosphorylated) and enzymatically dephosphorylated bovine neurofilament (NF) subunits was studied to delineate how NF triplet proteins assemble together into intermediate-size filaments in vitro. We determined the time course for reassembly, the ultrastructural characteristics of reassembled NFs, and the topographical disposition of NF protein subdomains within reassembled NFs using quantitative biochemical techniques, negative staining and immunoelectron microscopy. Our data indicate that: (1) approximately 50% of the purified NF subunit proteins assembled within 30 min from the start of reassembly into 10- to 12-nm filaments, and by 90 min approximately 85-90% of the NF proteins reassembled, (2) low concentrations (0.15-0.5 mg/ml) of purified NF proteins were able to reassemble into long filaments, (3) the rate and ability of native phosphorylated and dephosphorylated NF proteins to assemble into NFs were comparable, (4) negative staining revealed a periodicity of approximately 18-22 nm and a protofilamentous substructure in reassembled NFs, (5) immunoelectron microscopy using domain specific anti-NF monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to all 3 NF proteins demonstrated specific labeling patterns corresponding to the spatial relationships of subdomains within reassembled NFs, and (6) negative staining and immunolabeling revealed that reassembled NFs are very similar to isolated native NFs. We conclude that purified mammalian axonal NF triplet proteins, independent of their phosphorylation state, rapidly and efficiently reassemble in vitro to generate characteristic 10-nm filaments. Furthermore, immunological analysis reveals that the rod domains of NF-H, NF-M and NF-L are buried within the reassembled NF, whereas the head domain of NF-M and the tail domains of all 3 NF proteins remain exposed following reassembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center