Astroglial filaments approximately 10 nm in diameter were isolated from degenerated mouse optic nerves by Triton X-100 and DNase I treatments followed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. 2-4 wk after bilateral enucleation, optic nerves contained virtually a single population of 10-nm filaments (astroglial filaments), free from neurofilaments. In negative-staining and thin-section electron microscopy, the isolated filaments were seen as nonbranching linear structures with smooth contour, and were morphologically identical to those in situ. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed the isolated filaments to be composed of two major polypeptides with molecular weights of 45,000 and 55,000, present in an approximate molar ratio of 1:1. These findings, together with the results of one-dimensional peptide mapping and solubility study, indicate that the astroglial filaments in the mouse optic nerve are primarily composed of these two polypeptides.

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