CDA 1 is a novel antigen that within the brain is present specifically in neuronal growth cones. Electron microscope immunohistochemistry and subcellular fractionation showed the CDA 1 epitope to be on a cytosolic molecule. In cultured neurons, it is abundant in growth cones and not detectable in neurites or cell bodies. The development of the rat cerebral cortex was investigated by using the monoclonal antibody to CDA 1 and an antibody to SVP38, the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein. CDA 1 immunoreactivity in the rat cerebral cortex peaks just before birth and disappears by postnatal day 12, a few days before the major increase in the number of mature synapses. In contrast, SVP38 is expressed in parallel with the appearance of mature synapses. CDA 1 and SVP38 thus are markers of growth cones and synapses, respectively. Their expression during development reflects some of the structural and functional changes that occur during synapse formation.
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