Developmental regulation of two microtubule-associated proteins (MAP2 and MAP5) in the embryonic avian retina

Richard P Tucker, A. I. Matus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Previous studies with the mammalian brain have shown that the expression of a number of neuronal microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) is developmentally regulated. For example, the low-molecular-weight form of MAP2 (MAP2c) is abundant in neonatal rat brains and is less abundant in adults. Similarly, MAP5 levels decrease during postnatal development. Using monoclonal antibodies, we have followed the time of first appearance, cellular distribution, and molecular form of MAP2 and MAP5 during the morphogenesis of the quail retina. MAP2 first appears in ganglion cell bodies and in the axons of the optic fibre layer (OFL) at embryonic day 4 (E4). Anti-MAP2 staining remains restricted to these sites until E10, when staining appears in the inner plexiform layer (IPL). At E14, one day before hatching, anti-MAP2 staining is found in three broad laminae in the IPL, as well as in photosensitive cells. MAP5 is present in ganglion cell axons from the onset of neurite elongation at E3 and is limited to the OFL until E10. The intensity of anti-MAP5 staining in the OFL and optic nerve decreases after E7, which corresponds with a decrease in the number of actively growing ganglion cell axons. By E14, anti-MAP5 stains five layers in the IPL that correspond with layers of amacrine cell process arborizations. Western blots of E10 brain microtubule proteins show that MAP2 is represented by both a 260x103 M(r) protein and a 60-65x103 M(r) protein; the latter is much more abundant. Anti-MAP5 recognizes a 320x103 M(r) brain microtubule protein in both the quail and the rat. We conclude that the cellular distribution, developmental regulation and molecular forms of MAP2 and MAP5 are similar in the rat and quail, suggesting that these molecules have conserved and hence fundamental roles in the growth and differentiation of neuronal processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy


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