Peripheral nerve myelin contains a dominant low molecular weight glycoprotein called Po. To study the metabolism of this glycoprotein, tritiated fucose was injected into the peripheral nerves of adult mice and developing rats, and the temporal distribution of label was examined by autoradiography and gel electrophoresis. Mice and rat pups, injected with fucose, were sacrificed from 1 h to 98 days later. Series of autoradiographs were prepared. At the shortest labeling periods, newly formed product was confined to juxtanuclear Schwann cell cytoplasm, in association with regions rich in Golgi apparatus. After longer labeling periods, silver grain levels in Schwann cell cytoplasm decreased; concomitantly, there was an increase of silver grains associated with myelin. In adult animals, label associated with myelin was concentrated over outer layers of thickly myelinated fibers. Even at the longest time intervals examined (72 and 98 days), this distribution of label was largely retained. In contrast, in developing animals, label became associated with inner layers of the thicker sheaths. At no time was label observed over axons. Gel electrophoresis revealed that tritiated fucose was a suitable precursor for the faster migrating peripheral nerve glycoprotein(s). At all times examined, there was a single major peak of radioactivity that co-migrated on sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) acrylamide gels with the Po protein. Sometimes, a faster migrating shoulder of radioactivity was noted. With increased labeling periods, there was an enrichment of radioactivity associated with Po, indicative of a relatively slow turnover rate.

This content is only available as a PDF.