The distribution of acetylated alpha-tubulin in rat cerebellum was examined and compared with that of total alpha-tubulin and tyrosinated alpha-tubulin. From immunoperoxidase-stained vibratome sections of rat cerebellum it was found that acetylated alpha-tubulin, detectable with monoclonal 6-11B-1, was preferentially enriched in axons compared with dendrites. Parallel fiber axons, in particular, were labeled with 6-11B-1 yet unstained by an antibody recognizing tyrosinated alpha-tubulin, indicating that parallel fibers contain alpha-tubulin that is acetylated and detyrosinated. Axonal microtubules are known to be highly stable and the distribution of acetylated alpha-tubulin in other classes of stable microtubules suggests that acetylation and possibly detyrosination may play a role in the maintenance of stable populations of microtubules.

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