The cytological distribution of microtubule-associated protein 4 (MAP 4) (L. M. Parysek, C. F. Asnes, J. B. Olmsted, 1984, J. Cell Biol., 99:1309-1315) in mouse tissues has been examined. Adjacent 0.5-0.9-micron sections of polyethylene glycol-embedded tissues were incubated with affinity-purified MAP 4 or tubulin antibodies, and the immunofluorescent images were compared. Tubulin antibody labeling showed distinct microtubules in all tissues examined. MAP 4 antibody also labeled microtubule-like patterns, but the extent of MAP 4 reactivity was cell type-specific within each tissue. MAP 4 antibody labeled microtubules in vascular elements of all tissues and in other cells considered to have supportive functions, including Sertoli cells in the testis and glial elements in the nervous system. Microtubule patterns were also observed in cardiac, smooth, and skeletal (eye) muscle, podocytes in kidney, Kuppfer cells in liver, and spermatid manchettes. The only MAP 4-positive cells in which the pattern was not microtubule-like were the principal cells of the collecting ducts in kidney cortex, in which diffuse fluorescence was seen. MAP 4 antibody did not react with microtubule-rich neuronal elements of the central and peripheral nervous system, skeletal muscle from anterior thigh, liver parenchymal cells, columnar epithelial cells of the small intestine, and absorptive cells of the tubular component of the nephron. These observations indicate that MAP 4 may be associated with only certain kinds of cell functions as demonstrated by the preferential distribution with microtubules of defined cell types.

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