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EMBO J. 1986 Feb;5(2):269-76.

Alzheimer's paired helical filaments share epitopes with neurofilament side arms.


A panel of monoclonal antibodies to neurofilaments have been investigated with regard to the location of their respective epitopes on neurofilament polypeptides and their ability to label the neurofibrillary tangles and paired helical filaments (PHF) which are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. All of the neurofilament monoclonal antibodies that label tangles and PHF are directed against epitopes in the side arm domains of the two larger neurofilament polypeptides, NF-H and NF-M, and do not recognise the alpha-helical rod domains of these proteins. Immuno-electron microscopy demonstrates that the neurofilament antibodies label the constituent PHF per se and do not simply stain neurofilaments that might be admixed with PHF. These neurofilament epitopes are differentially retained by PHF, following isolation. Thus, antibody labelling of PHF is not simply due to the presence of normal neurofilament polypeptides. We propose that in tangle-bearing neurons, neurofilaments are degraded by proteases and that it is fragments of the side arms which contribute to the composition of PHF.

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