Immunocytochemical and biochemical characterization of FMRP, FXR1P, and FXR2P in the mouse

Exp Cell Res. 2000 Jul 10;258(1):162-70. doi: 10.1006/excr.2000.4932.


Fragile X syndrome is caused by the absence of expression of the FMR1 gene. Both FXR1 and FXR2 are autosomal gene homologues of FMR1. The products of the three genes are belonging to a family of RNA-binding proteins, called FMRP, FXR1P, and FXR2P, respectively, and are associated with polyribosomes as cytoplasmic mRNP particles. The aim of the present study is to obtain more knowledge about the cellular function of the three proteins (Fxr proteins) and their interrelationships in vivo. We have utilized monospecific antibodies raised against each of these proteins and performed Western blotting and immunolabeling at the light-microscopic level on tissues of wild-type and Fmr1 knockout adult mice. In addition, we have performed immunoelectron microscopy on hippocampal neurons of wild-type mice to study the subcellular distribution of the Fxr proteins. A high expression was found in brain and gonads for all three proteins. Skeletal muscle tissue showed only a high expression for Fxr1p. In the brain the three proteins were colocalized in the cytoplasm of the neurons; however, in specific neurons Fxr1p was also found in the nucleolus. Immunoelectronmicrsocopy on hippocampal neurons demonstrated the majority of the three proteins in association with ribosomes and a minority in the nucleus. The colocalization of the Fxr proteins in neurons is consistent with similar cellular functions in those specific cells. The presence of the three proteins in the nucleus of hippocampal neurons suggests a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling for the Fxr proteins. In maturing and adult testis a differential expression was observed for the three proteins in the spermatogenic cells. The similarities and differences between the distribution of the Fxr proteins have implications with respect to their normal function and the pathogenesis of the fragile X syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / metabolism


  • FMR1 protein, human
  • FXR1 protein, human
  • FXR2 protein, human
  • Fmr1 protein, mouse
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein