Occurrence of prosaposin as a neuronal surface membrane component

Qiang Fu, Geoffrey S. Carson, Masao Hiraiwa, Marjorie Grafe, Yasuo Kishimoto, John S. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Prosaposin is a precursor of four saposins that are required for the lysosomal hydrolysis of sphingolipids by specific hydrolases. Besides its precursor role, prosaposin also exists as a secreted protein. The present investigation reveals that prosaposin also exists as an integral component of the surface membranes of neuronal cells. Subcellular fractionation studies demonstrate that the membrane-bound prosaposin occurs specifically in plasma membranes of NS20Y rat neuroblastoma cells. An immunohistochemical study of the neuroblastoma cells using rat prosaposin-specific antibodies also showed that a portion of prosaposin is located on the surface of neurites as well as on cell bodies. Similar histochemical studies with antibodies that specifically recognize human prosaposin revealed the presence of prosaposin in dendrites, axons, and cell bodies of subcortical and spinal cord neurons in both human adult brain and in fetal brain (24-wk gestation). These findings suggest an important role of prosaposin in neuronal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Prosaposin
  • fetus brain and spinal cord
  • human brain and spinal cord
  • neuroblastoma
  • neurons
  • plasma membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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