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The spectrin family of proteins were originally discovered as major components of the submembraneous cytoskeleton of osmotically lyzed red blood cells. Work by Levine and Willard described a pair of about ~240-260kDa molecular weight bands which were transported at the slowest rate along mammalian axons. They named these proteins "fodrin" as antibody studies showed that they were localized in the sheath under the axonal membrane, but not in the core of the axon.
Image: Mixed neuron-glial cultures stained with alpha-II spectrin (green) and counterstained for DNA (blue). The alpha-II spectrin antibody stains numerous axonal and dendritic profiles in these cultures, and this image shows an optical section through a group of neuronal cell bodies. The antibody clearly reveals the submembraneous cytoskeleton. Since alpha-II spectrin is specific for neurons in the CNS, the glial cells in this culture are not recognized. This antibody also reveals the submembranous cytoskeleton of the axon. Protocol on data-sheet.
In the nervous system, alpha-II-spectrin or alpha-Fodrin is found predominantly in neurons. Our antibody can therefore be used to identify neurons and fragments derived from neuronal membranes in cells in tissue culture and in sectioned material. This antibody was raised against a recombinant construct containing the seventh, eight and ninth of the so-called spectrin repeats.
Image: Western blots of extract of bovine spinal cord. A prominent band running at 240kDa respresents the intact alpha-II spectrin heavy chain. Protocol on data-sheet..