Shiverer and Normal Peripheral Myelin Compared: Basic Protein Localization, Membrane Interactions, and Lipid Composition

Authors

  • Hideyo Inouye,

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Children's Hospital, and Department of Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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  • Allen L. Ganser,

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Children's Hospital, and Department of Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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  • Daniel A. Kirschner

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuroscience, Children's Hospital, and Department of Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. D. A. Kirschner at Department of Neuroscience, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, U.S.A.

Abstract

Abstract: We have correlated membrane structure and interactions in shiverer sciatic nerve myelin with its biochemical composition. Analysis of x-ray diffraction data from shiverer myelin swollen in water substantiates our previous localization of an electron density deficit in the cytoplasmic half of the membrane. The density loss correlates with the absence of the major myelin basic proteins and indicates that in normal myelin, the basic protein is localized to the cytoplasmic apposition. As in normal peripheral myelin, hypotonic swelling in the shiverer membrane arrays occurs in the extracellular space between membranes; the cytoplasmic surfaces remain closely apposed notwithstanding the absence of basic protein from this region. Surprisingly, we found that the interaction at the extracellular apposition of shiverer membranes is altered. The extracellular space swells to a greater extent than normal when nerves are incubated in distilled water, treated at a reduced ionic strength of 0.06 in the range of pH 4–9, or treated at constant pH (4 or 7) in the range of ionic strengths 0.02–0.20. To examine the biochemical basis of this difference in swelling, we compared the lipid composition of shiverer and normal myelin. We find that sulfatides, hydroxycerebroside, and phosphatidylcholine are 20–30% higher than normal; non-hydroxycerebroside and sphingomyelin are 15–20% lower than normal; and ethanolamine phosphatides, phosphatidylserine, and cholesterol show little or no change. A higher concentration of negatively charged sulfatides at the extracellular surface likely contributes to an increased electrostatic repulsion and greater swelling in shiverer. The cytoplasmic surfaces of the apposed membranes of normal and shiverer myelins did not swell apart appreciably in the pH and ionic strength ranges expected to produce electrostatic repulsion. This stability, then, clearly does not depend on basic protein. We propose that P0 glycoprotein molecules form the stable link between apposed cytoplasmic membrane surfaces in peripheral myelin.

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