We have previously demonstrated the existence of two distinct isoforms of spectrin in mammalian brain (23). Brain spectrin(240/235) is found primarily in neuronal axons and presynaptic terminals, and brain spectrin(240/235E) is located in neuronal cell bodies, dendrites and postsynaptic terminals, and oligodendrocytes. These isoforms are thought to play important roles in controlling the early events of synaptic transmission, axonal transport of organelles and vesicles, and lateral mobility of integral membrane proteins. In this study, we have utilized a panel of monoclonal antibodies to identify a novel astrocyte specific isoform(240/235A) with subunits of 240 kDa and 235 kDa in a 1:1 ratio. Double label indirect immunofluorescence has indicated that brain spectrin(240/235A) is distinct from brain spectrin(240/235E). This novel isoform located in the soma and processes of astrocytes may play a role in actin-membrane attachment, cellular architecture, strengthening of the membrane fabric, and translocation of cytoplasmic organelles and vesicles.
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