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Neurochem Int. 2000 Oct;37(4):351-61.

Development and characterization of antibodies specific to caspase-3-produced alpha II-spectrin 120 kDa breakdown product: marker for neuronal apoptosis.

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Laboratory of Neuro-biochemistry, Department of Neuroscience Therapeutics, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Alpha II-spectrin (alpha-fodrin) is a demonstrated endogenous substrate for caspase-3 in neurons undergoing unscheduled apoptotic death. We have previously identified the caspase cleavage site that yields the distinctive 120 kDa spectrin breakdown product (SBDP120) as (DSLD(1478)*SVEAL). Here, by using a synthetic peptide (NH(2)-SVEALC) mimicking the neo-N-terminal of SBDP120 as antigen, we report the development of chicken antibodies that specifically recognize the SBDP120 generated by in vitro caspase-3 digestion of bovine alpha-spectrin on Western blot. These anti-SBDP120 antibodies recognize SBDP120 generated by two apoptotic challenges (staurosporine, EGTA) to human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Yet they neither react with intact alpha-spectrin nor its other fragments on Western blots. These anti-SBDP120 work equally well in detecting SBDP120 generated in rat cerebellar granule neurons undergoing potassium withdrawal-induced apoptosis. In immunocytochemical studies, these antibodies also specifically stained apoptotic SH-SY5Y or CGN's undergoing apoptosis in a caspase- inhibitor-sensitive manner. These anti-SBDP120s might become powerful markers for apoptotic neurons in various neurological or neurodegenerative conditions in vivo.

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