Ganglioside composition of subcellular fractions, including pre- and postsynaptic membranes, from Torpedo electric organ

Robert W. Ledeen, Marie Françoise Diebler, Gusheng Wu, Zi Hua Lu, Hélène Varoqui

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Gangliosides were isolated from four subcellular fractions of the electric organ of Torpedo marmorata: synaptosomes, presynaptic membranes, postsynaptic membranes, and synaptic vesicle membranes. This exploited a principal advantage offered by this tissue: facile separation of pre-and postyynaptic elements. Total ganglioside concentration in presynaptic membranes was approximately twice that of synaptosomes and 15 times that of postsynaptic membranes (47.7, 24.4, and 3.21 μg of lipid sialic acid per mg protein, respectively). Synaptic vesicle membranes had the highest overall concentration (78.9) relative to protein, but a concentration approximately comparable to that of presynaptic membranes when expressed relative to phospholipid. The thin-layer patterns of these two fractions were similar, both in terms of total pattern and the specific pattern of gangliotetraose structures as revealed by overlay with cholera toxin B subunit; these were notable for the paucity of monosialo structures and the virtual absence of GM1. Postsynaptic membranes, on the other hand, had a significantly higher content of monosialogangliosides including the presence of GM1. The synaptosomal pattern resembled that of the presynaptic membranes and synaptic vesicles. Thus, a clear difference in ganglioside pattern could be discerned between the pre- and postsynaptic elements of the electric organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1151-1155
Number of pages5
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Gangliosides
  • Torpedo marmorata
  • postsynaptic membranes
  • presynaptic membranes
  • synaptic vesicles


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