High-affinity antibodies against calmodulin (CaM)-dependent cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase and protein phosphatase (calcineurin) were purified and characterized. Rabbit anti-phosphodiesterase antibody did not react with other phosphodiesterases or with the regulatory subunits of cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Affinity-purified goat anti-calcineurin antibody recognized both the 61-kDa catalytic subunit and the 18-kDa Ca2+-binding subunit of the phosphatase. Neither antibody reacted with CaM, several CaM-binding proteins (calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, myosin light chain kinase, fodrin), or other cytosolic proteins from brain. The antibodies were used to compare the cellular localization of these two CaM-dependent enzymes in rat brain. Both calcineurin and phosphodiesterase were found predominantly in nerve cells; however, phosphodiesterase was restricted to very specific neuronal populations. Phosphodiesterase was prominent in the somatic cytoplasm and dendrites of regional output neurons--e.g., cerebellar Purkinje cells and hippocampal and cortical pyramidal cells. The extensive and uniform staining in the dendrites was consistent with postsynaptic localization and suggested an important function for this enzyme in neurons that integrate multiple convergent inputs. Calcineurin was present in virtually all classes of neurons, with immunoreactivity confined primarily to cell bodies. Both diffuse cytoplasmic staining and characteristic punctate staining of cell bodies were observed; the latter suggested compartmentalization of calcineurin at or near the plasma membrane. The results of this study demonstrate that calcineurin and phosphodiesterase are differentially localized in the central nervous system. Thus, the expression and compartmentalization of CaM-binding proteins may be highly regulated and specific for particular differentiated nerve cell types.
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