Expression of PRiMA in the Mouse Brain: Membrane Anchoring and Accumulation of 'Tailed' Acetylcholinesterase

Eur J Neurosci. 2003 Oct;18(7):1837-47. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02914.x.


We analysed the expression of PRiMA (proline-rich membrane anchor), the membrane anchor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), by in situ hybridization in the mouse brain. We compared the pattern of PRiMA transcripts with that of AChE transcripts, as well as those of choline acetyltransferase and M1 muscarinic receptors which are considered pre- and postsynaptic cholinergic markers. We also analysed cholinesterase activity and its molecular forms in several brain structures. The results suggest that PRiMA expression is predominantly or exclusively related to the cholinergic system and that anchoring of cholinesterases to cell membranes by PRiMA represents a limiting factor for production of the AChE tailed splice variant (AChET)-PRiMA complex, which represents the major AChE component in the brain. This enzyme species is mostly associated with cholinergic neurons because the pattern of PRiMA mRNA expression largely coincides with that of ChAT. We also show that, in both mouse and human, PRiMA proteins exist as two alternative splice variants which differ in their cytoplasmic regions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / genetics
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / genetics
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M1 / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • PRIMA1 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Muscarinic M1
  • prima1 protein, mouse
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase
  • Acetylcholinesterase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY225515
  • GENBANK/AY225516
  • GENBANK/AY225517