Creatine kinase (CK, EC 2.7.3.2) has recently been identified as the intermediate isoelectric point species (pl 6.5-6.8) of the Mr 40,000-43,000 nonreceptor, peripheral v-proteins in Torpedo marmorata acetylcholine receptor-rich membranes (Barrantes, F. J., G. Mieskes, and T. Wallimann, 1983, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 80: 5440-5444). In the present study, this finding is substantiated at the cellular and subcellular level of the T. marmorata electric organ by immunofluorescence and by protein A-gold labeling of either ultrathin cryosections of electrocytes or purified receptor-membrane vesicles that use subunit-specific anti-chicken creatine kinase antibodies. The muscle form of the kinase, on the one hand, is present throughout the entire T. marmorata electrocyte except in the nuclei. The brain form of the kinase, on the other hand, is predominantly located on the ventral, innervated face of the electrocyte, where it is closely associated with both surfaces of the postsynaptic membrane, and secondarily in the synaptic vesicles at the presynaptic terminal. Labeling of the noninnervated dorsal membrane is observed at the invaginated sac system. In the case of purified acetylcholine receptor-rich membranes, antibodies specific for chicken B-CK label only one face of the isolated vesicles. No immunoreaction is observed with anti-chicken M-CK antibodies. A discussion follows on the possible implications of these localizations of creatine kinase in connection with the function of the acetylcholine receptor at the postsynaptic membrane, the Na/K ATPase at the dorsal electrocyte membrane, and the ATP-dependent transmitter release at the nerve ending.

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