Using monoclonal antibodies we have characterized a brain protein that copurifies with microtubules. We identify it as a microtubule-associated protein (MAP) by the following criteria: it copolymerizes with tubulin through repeated cycles of microtubule assembly in vitro; it is not associated with any brain subcellular fraction other than microtubules; in double-label immunofluorescence experiments antibodies against this protein stain the same fibrous elements in cultured cells as are stained by antitubulin; and this fibrous staining pattern is dispersed when cytoplasmic microtubules are disrupted by colchicine. Because it is distinct from previously described MAPs we designate this novel species MAP3. The MAP3 protein consists of a closely spaced pair of polypeptides on SDS gels, Mr 180,000, which are present in both glial (glioma C6) and neuronal (neuroblastoma B104) cell lines. In brain the MAP3 antigen is present in both neurons and glia. In nerve cells its distribution is strikingly restricted: anti-MAP3 staining is detectable only in neurofilament-rich axons. It is not, however, a component of isolated brain intermediate filaments.

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