Evidence for the concentration of F-actin and myosin in synapses and in the plasmalemmal zone of axons

Eur J Cell Biol. 1983 Sep;31(2):235-40.


Fluorescent staining with phalloidin, a specific probe for F-actin, and antibodies to non-muscle myosin from thymus was used to localize actin and myosin in brain neurons of the rat. Phalloidin and anti-myosin displayed a preferential affinity for synaptic formations in the cerebellum, the brain stem, the spinal cord and the retina. The conclusion that F-actin and myosin are concentrated in synaptic terminals was further established by simultaneous staining of isolated rat brain synaptosomes with phalloidin and anti-thymus myosin as well as by the demonstration of a selective affinity of anti-thymus myosin for a 200 000-Mr protein band in gel electrophoretograms of synaptic fractions. Apart from synaptic areas, phalloidin and anti-thymus myosin reacted also, albeit rather weakly, with a narrow circumferential layer located in the area of the plasma membrane of virtually all axons in the white matter and the spinal roots. The spatial coexistence of myosin and actin in brain synapses and axons is of particular interest in view of various dynamic functions that have been proposed for axonal and synaptic actin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Axons / analysis*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Myosins / analysis*
  • Phalloidine
  • Rats
  • Synapses / analysis*


  • Actins
  • Phalloidine
  • Myosins