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Brain Res. 1988 Feb 2;440(1):25-34.

A monoclonal antibody, WCC4, recognizes a developmentally regulated ganglioside containing alpha-galactose and alpha-fucose present in the rat nervous system.

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Department of Biochemistry, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, Inc., Waltham, MA 02254.


A monoclonal antibody, WCC4, raised against PC12 cells, recognizes a ganglioside which is present in low concentrations in the postnatal rat nervous system. The antigen is also present in the adrenal and kidney, as determined immunohistochemically, but is not detectable in liver or spleen. A neutral glycosphingolipid is also immunoreactive. In the present report, the chemical characterization of this ganglioside, isolated from PC12 cells, and the anatomical distribution of the antigens recognized by the WCC4 antibody are described. By enzymatic cleavage of terminal saccharide moieties, the ganglioside is identified as alpha-galactosyl, (alpha-fucosyl) GM1. The ganglioside increases in concentration postnatally to day 35 (P35) and is present in a slightly diminished concentration in the adult. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that this glycolipid is also present on neuronal cell soma throughout the cerebrum, cerebellum and spinal cord. It is expressed in highest concentration in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus and is also present in the olfactory bulb, the molecular layer of the hippocampus, the piriform cortex, the olfactory tubercle and the entorhinal cortex. The dentate molecular layer receives most of its innervation from neurons in the entorhinal cortex, and gangliosides are known to have an effect on plasticity following entorhinal cortical lesions. Therefore, the WCC4 antibody should prove to be a useful tool for the study of the role of endogenous gangliosides in this region of the nervous system.

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