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Abstract

Myelin was isolated from the brains of mice 15, 20, 30, and 60 days after birth. The total amount of basic protein present in the isolated myelin was determined by radioimmunoassay. The 4 myelin basic proteins, with molecular weights of 21,500, 18,500, 17,000 and 14,000, were separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and their relative amounts were determined densitometrically. The absolute amount of each of the basic proteins was calculated from its relative amount on the gel and from the total amount of myelin basic protein in the sample as determined by radioimmunoassay. The results show that between 10 and 30 days after birth each protein accumulates at a characteristic rate so that the molar ratios among the 4 basic proteins are (in descending order according to their molecular weights) 1:5:2:10 during this period. Between 30 and 60 days after birth the 14 K and 18.5 K proteins continue to accumulate at reduced rates while the 21.5 K and 17 K proteins begin to disappear from the myelin membrane; 60 days after birth the molar ratios among the 4 basic proteins are 1:10:3.5:35. These developmental patterns of accumulation are discussed in relation to the possible role of each of the 4 myelin basic proteins in myelination.