Intact neurofilaments were isolated in parallel from rat peripheral nerve and spinal cord by osmotic shock into hypotonic media containing divalent cation chelators. Isolated neurofilaments were washed and separated by multiple centrifugations in 0.1 M NaCl. Abundant intact neurofilaments were identified in the washed pellets by negative staining techniques. Their origin from neurofilaments was confirmed by immune electron microscopy. Washed neurofilaments were extracted from lipid and membranous components with 8 M urea. Analyses of neurofilament isolates on sodium dodecyl sulfate gels showed that proteins of 200,000, 150,000, and 69,000 mol wt were the major components of intact neurofilaments derived from rat peripheral and central nervous systems. These same proteins were identified in whole tissue homogenates of both sources and became enriched during the isolation of intact neurofilaments. A minor component of 64,000 mol wt arose during isolation. Other proteins were identified as contaminants. Small amounts of proteins with electrophoretic migration of tubulin and actin remain in neurofilament isolates.

This content is only available as a PDF.