Partial purification of presynaptic plasma membrane by immunoadsorption

G. P. Miljanich, A. R. Brasier, R. B. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


During transmitter release, synaptic vesicle membrane is specifically inserted into the nerve terminal plasma membrane only at specialized sites or 'active zones'. In an attempt to obtain a membrane fraction enriched in active zones, we have utilized the electric organ of the marine ray. From this organ, a fraction enriched in nerve terminals (synaptosomes) was prepared by conventional means. These synaptosomes were bound to microscopic beads by an antiserum to purified electric organ synaptic vesicles (anti-SV). The success of this immunoadsorption procedure was demonstrated by increased specific activities of bead-bound nerve terminal cytoplasmic markers and decreased specific activities of markers for contaminating membranes. To obtain a presynaptic plasma membrane (PSPM) fraction, we lysed the bead-bound synaptosomes by hypoosmotic shock and sonication, resulting in complete release of cytoplasmic markers. When the synaptosomal fraction was surface-labeled with iodine before immunoadsorption, 10% of this label remained bead-bound after lysis, compared with 2% of the total protein, indicating an approximately fivefold enrichment of bead-bound plasma membrane. Concomitantly, the specific activity of bead-bound anti-SV increased ~30-fold, indicating an enrichment of plasma membrane which contained inserted synaptic vesicle components. This PSPM preparation is not simply synaptic vesicle membrane since two-dimensional electrophoresis revealed that the polypeptides of the surface-iodinated PSPM preparation include both vesicle and numerous nonvesicle components. Secondly, antiserum to the PSPM fraction is markedly different from anti-SV and binds to external, nonvesicle, nerve terminal components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Miljanich, G. P., Brasier, A. R., & Kelly, R. B. (1982). Partial purification of presynaptic plasma membrane by immunoadsorption. Journal of Cell Biology, 94(1), 88-96.