Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against GM1b ganglioside were raised by immunizing NZB/n mice with the antigen purified from bovine brains, and the details of binding specificity of the mAbs were characterized. Anti-GM1b mAb, termed NA-6, reacted specifically with GM1b (NeuAc) and GM1b(NeuGc). NA-6 antibody did not react with other structurally related gangliosides, indicating that the antibody recognizes NeuAc or NeuGc α2-3Galβ1-4GalNAcβ1-4Gal structure. Using NA-6 antibody, GM1b ganglioside in developing rat brain was investigated by TLC/enzyme-immunostaining and detected first on gestational day 16. The specific content of brain GM1b increased until postnatal day 10, and then gradually decreased in later stage of development. Immunohistochemically GM1b was found in proximal dendrites and cell bodies of neurons in extensive regions of adult rat brain. The immunoreactivity tended to be confined in patch-like clusters on cell membranes, as typically found in the hippocampus and neocortex. The GM1b synthase activity, when assayed in the cerebellar microsome proteins, was significantly reduced in lurcher mutant mouse that is devoid of both cerebellar granule and Purkinje cells. These findings demonstrate that GM1b ganglioside exists in neurons and is actively synthesized during the development in rat brain.
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