Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cell Neurosci. 1997;8(6):439-54.

Tropomyosin localization reveals distinct populations of microfilaments in neurites and growth cones.

Author information

Cell Biology Unit, Children's Medical Research Institute, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.


The functional and structural differences between neurites and growth cones suggests the possibility that distinct microfilament populations may exist in each domain. Tropomyosins are integral components of the actin-based microfilament system. Using antibodies which detect three different sets of tropomyosin isoforms, we found that the vast majority of tropomyosin was found in a microfilament-enriched fraction of cultured cortical neurons, therefore enabling us to use the antisera to evaluate compositional differences in neuritic and growth cone microfilaments. An antibody which reacts with all known nonmuscle isoforms of the alpha Tms gene (Tm5NM1-4) stains both neurites and growth cones, whereas a second antibody against the isoform subset, Tm5NM1-2, reacts only with the neurite. A third antibody which reacts with the Tm5a/5b isoforms encoded by a separate gene from alpha Tms was strongly reactive with both neurites and growth cones in 16-h cultures but only with the neurite shaft in 40-h cultures. Treatment of neurons with cytochalasin B allowed neuritic Tm5NM1-2 to spread into growth cones. Removal of the drug resulted in the disappearance of Tm5NM1-2 from the growth cone, indicating that isoform segregation is an active process dependent on intact microfilaments. Treatment of 40-h cultures with nocodazole resulted in the removal of Tm5NM1-2 from the neurite whereas Tm5a/5b now spread back into the growth cone. We conclude that the organization of Tm5NM1-2 and Tm5a/5b in the neurite is at least partially dependent on microtubule integrity. These results indicate that tropomyosin isoforms Tm5NM1-2, Tm5NM3-4, and Tm5a/5b mark three distinct populations of actin filaments in neurites and growth cones. Further, the composition of microfilaments differs between neurites and growth cones and is subject to temporal regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center