The characterization of tubulin in CNS membrane fractions

J Neurochem. 1981 Nov;37(5):1295-307. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1981.tb04681.x.


Rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER), and a plasma membrane (PM) fraction enriched in synaptic membranes were isolated from rat forebrain. The proteins in these membrane fractions were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DGE) in the isoelectric range of 5.1 to 6.0 by a modification of the O'Farrell procedure. Proteins were detected by Coomassie Brilliant Blue staining of the electrophoretograms. The results of these analyses were compared with 2DGE analysis of cytosol proteins, with particular attention given to tubulin subunits and actin. The RER contained one major protein (53K 5.4) in the beta-tubulin region with a molecular weight of 53,000 and an isoelectric point of 5.4. The SER contained at least two major proteins in the alpha-tubulin region; one with a migration identical to 53K 5.4 and other proteins with slightly higher apparent molecular weights and more acidic isoelectric points (54K, 5.4 to 5.3), identical to cytoplasmic beta-tubulin. The PM fraction also contained multiple overlapping proteins (54K, 5.4 to 5.3) in the beta-tubulin area and a trace amount of the 53K 5.4 protein. The proteins in the beta-tubulin region were removed from the 2DGE electrophoretogram and digested by Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease, and the peptides separated on one-dimensional polyacrylamide gels. The peptide patterns of 53K 5.4 protein from RER and SER were almost identical and differed significantly from the cytoplasmic beta-tubulin pattern; however, the peptide maps of the PM and SER beta-tubulin region were identical to the cytoplasmic beta-tubulin. The 2DGE analysis of RER did not contain proteins in the region of cytoplasmic alpha-tubulin. SER and PM contained proteins in the alpha-tubulin region with a similar, but not identical, peptide analysis to cytoplasmic alpha-tubulin. Significant amounts of actin were detected in 2DGE analysis of SER and PM, and the peptide analysis of the actin was identical to the cytoplasmic actin analysis. The RER fraction contained only trace amounts of actin. The cytosol and all membrane fractions contained a protein (68K 5.6) found among microtubule-associated proteins, as judged by molecular weight and isoelectric point. Several proteins present in all membrane fractions (61K 5.1 and 58K 5.1) bound to concanavalin A agarose.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / analysis
  • Cytosol / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / analysis*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Peptide Fragments / analysis
  • Rats
  • Subcellular Fractions / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / analysis*
  • Tubulin / analysis*


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Tubulin