External labeling of galactose in surface membrane glycoproteins of the intact myelin sheath

J. F. Poduslo, R. H. Quarles, R. O. Brady

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38 Scopus citations


The molecular organization of surface galactose residues in glycoproteins of the intact myelin sheath was investigated using the enzymatic membrane probe, galactose oxidase. Rat spinal cords treated under physiological conditions with this nonpermeant probe were labeled specifically in galactose residues by reduction with tritiated sodium borohydride. The enzymatically modified proteins from isolated myelin were analyzed electrophoretically and their specific radioactivities determined. Results indicated tritium label associated with a surprising variety of high molecular weight proteins. The most extensively labeled peak corresponded to the major myelin glycoprotein as indicated by the coincidence of tritium label with that of [14C]fucose used as an internal marker for the glycoproteins. The radioactivity associated with this protein was 1.1 to 2.7 times higher after treatment with galactose oxidase when compared to reduction in the absence of the enzyme and 1.4 to 4.8 times higher when oxidized and reduced after prior treatment with neuraminidase. The results suggest a complex heterogeneity of minor glycoproteins associated with isolated myelin. It is concluded that from this complexity of glycoproteins, a major glycoprotein is at least partially localized on the external surface of either the intact myelin sheath or the closely associated oligodendroglial plasma membrane. Such a localization of this glycoprotein and the probable localization of the other glycoproteins enhances their potential role in specific interactions in the process of myelination or myelin maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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