Garfish Lepisosteus osseus olfactory nerve, because of its large size and the unusually high concentration of axonal membrane, is an excellent source of axonal membrane. A procedure is described for the isolation of two types of plasma membranes from the nerve which are obtained in yields of about 20 mg (fraction I) and 1.5 mg (fraction II) per g of wet nerve. Both membrane fractions consist mostly of rounded membrane vesicles, with a unit membrane thickness of ∼7.5 nm. The two membrane fractions are different in their lipid to protein ratios, Na-K ATPase activities, polypeptide patterns on sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gel electrophoresis, and fatty acid compositions. They have similar phospholipid composition. On the basis of the relative concentration of axonal and Schwann cell plasma membranes in the nerve, the Na-K ATPase activities of the two membrane fractions and a comparison of the properties of the membrane fractions to those of squid and lobster nerve membrane preparations, fraction I seems to be the axonal membrane and fraction II the Schwann cell plasma membrane. Fraction I has a low protein to lipid ratio. Its polypeptide pattern on SDS gel appears to be much more complex as compared to that of fraction II membrane.

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