The 1C6 monoclonal antibody to the hyaluronic acid-binding region weakly stained a 65-kD component in immunoblots of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans of brain, and the 8A4 monoclonal antibody, which recognizes two epitopes in the polypeptide portion of link protein, produced strong staining of a 45-kD component present in the brain proteoglycans. These antibodies were utilized to examine the localization of hyaluronic acid-binding region and link protein epitopes in rat cerebellum. Like the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans themselves and hyaluronic acid, hyaluronic acid-binding region and link protein immunoreactivity changed from a predominantly extracellular to an intracellular (cytoplasmic and intra-axonal) location during the first postnatal month of brain development. The cell types which showed staining of hyaluronic acid-binding region and link protein, such as granule cells and their axons (the parallel fibers), astrocytes, and certain myelinated fibers, were generally the same as those previously found to contain chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid. Prominent staining of some cell nuclei was also observed. In agreement with earlier conclusions concerning the localization of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, there was no intracellular staining of Purkinje cells or nerve endings or staining of certain other structures, such as oligodendroglia and synaptic vesicles. The similar localizations and coordinate developmental changes of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid, hyaluronic acid-binding region, and link protein add further support to previous evidence for the unusual cytoplasmic localization of these proteoglycans in mature brain. Our results also suggest that much of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of brain may exist in the form of aggregates with hyaluronic acid.

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