The presynaptic plasma membrane (PSPM) of cholinergic nerve terminals was purified from Torpedo electric organ using a large-scale procedure. Up to 500 g of frozen electric organ were fractioned in a single run, leading to the isolation of greater than 100 mg of PSPM proteins. The purity of the fraction is similar to that of the synaptosomal plasma membrane obtained after subfractionation of Torpedo synaptosomes as judged by its membrane-bound acetylcholinesterase activity, the number of Glycera convoluta neurotoxin binding sites, and the binding of two monoclonal antibodies directed against PSPM. The specificity of these antibodies for the PSPM is demonstrated by immunofluorescence microscopy.

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