Polyclonal isoenzyme-specific antisera were developed against four calcium-independent protein kinase C (PKC) isoenzymes (delta, epsilon, epsilon', and zeta) as well as the calcium-dependent isoforms (alpha, beta I, beta II, and gamma). These antisera showed high specificities, high titers, and high binding affinities (3-370 nM) for the peptide antigens to which they were raised. Each antiserum detected a species of the predicted molecular weight by Western blot that could be blocked with the immunizing peptide. PKC was sequentially purified from rat brain, and the calcium-dependent forms were finally resolved by hydroxyapatite chromatography. Peak I reacted exclusively with antisera to PKC gamma, peak II with PKC beta I and -beta II, and peak III with PKC alpha. These same fractions, however, were devoid of immunoreactivity for the calcium-independent isoenzymes. The PKC isoenzymes demonstrated a distinctive tissue distribution when evaluated by Western blot and immunocytochemistry. PCK delta was present in brain, heart, spleen, lung, liver, ovary, pancreas, and adrenal tissues. PKC epsilon was present in brain, kidney, and pancreas, whereas PKC epsilon' was present predominantly in brain. PKC zeta was present in most tissues, particularly the lung, brain, and liver. Both PKC delta and PKC zeta showed some heterogeneity of size among the different tissues. PKC alpha was present in all organs and tissues examined. PKC beta I and -beta II were present in greatest amount in brain and spleen. Although the brain contained the most PKC gamma immunoreactivity, some immunostaining was also seen in adrenal tissue. These studies provide the first evidence of selective organ and tissue distributions of the calcium-independent PKC isoenzymes.

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