Calmodulin, a multifunctional Ca(++)-binding protein, is present in all eucaryotic cells. We have investigated the distribution of this protein in the rat cerebellum by immunoelectron microscopy using a Fab-peroxidase conjugate technique. In Purkinje and granular cell bodies, calmodulin reaction product was found localized both on free ribosomes and on those attached to rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and the nuclear envelope. No calmoduline was observed in the cisternae of RER or the Golgi apparactus. Calmodulin did not appear to be concentrated in the soluble fraction of the cell under the conditions used. Rather, peroxidase reaction product could be seen associated with membranes of the Golgi apparatus the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER), and the plasma membrane of both cell bodies and neuronal processes. In the neuronal dendrites, calmodulin appeared to be concentrated on membranes of the SER, small vesicles, and mitochondria. Also, granular calmodulin was observed in the amorphous material. In the synaptic junction, a large amount of calmodulin was seen attached to the inner surface of the postsynaptic membrane, whereas very little was observed in the presynaptic membrane or vesicles. These observations suggest that calmodulin is synthesized on ribosomes and discharged into the cytosol, and that it then becomes associated with a variety of intracellular membranes. Calmodulin also seems to be transported via neuronal processes to the postsynaptic membrane. Calmodulin localization at the postsynaptic membrane suggests that this protein may mediate calcium effects at the synaptic junction and, thus, may play a role in the regulation of neurotransmission.

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