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J Neurosci. 1991 Nov;11(11):3531-8.

Spectrin isoforms in the mammalian retina.

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Department of Neuroscience and Anatomy, Pennsylvania State University, M. S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey 17033.


Spectrin is a major component of the mammalian neuronal cytoskeleton. In the CNS, three isoforms of brain spectrin are known to exist: a cellular and dendritic isoform, (240/235E), related to neurons and glia; a cellular and axonal isoform, (240/235), related to neurons; and an isoform specific for astrocytes, (240/235A). In the present study, brain spectrins (240/235E) and (240/235) were localized within the mouse retina and optic nerve. Immunoblot analyses of proteins isolated from mouse retinas utilizing polyclonal antibodies to either brain spectrin (240/235) or brain spectrin (240/235E) revealed that these spectrins are present in the retina and that the two isoforms are the same molecular weights as those found in the brain. Immunocytochemical studies revealed that spectrin (240/235E) was localized in cell bodies of the inner nuclear, outer nuclear, and ganglion cell layers, and processes arborizing within the inner and outer plexiform layers. Spectrin (240/235) was distributed diffusely within the retina, lightly staining neurons in both the inner nuclear and outer nuclear layers, and the ganglion cell layer. In contrast to the situation found in the brain, spectrin (240/235) was but one of the axonal forms in the retina. We found that spectrin (240/235E) was also present in the axon-rich fiber layer and in the optic nerve and was often associated with fibrous elements. Spectrin (240/235) was also detected in the nerve fiber layer and optic nerve, but this isoform was not localized to fibers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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