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To date three beta subunits of the GABAA receptor have been identified in rat brain as a result of cDNA library screening. The beta 2 subunit has been reported to have a wide distribution in rat brain based on in situ hybridization studies quantifying beta 2 mRNA. To study the beta 2 subunit more directly, we have raised a polyclonal antibody to a synthetic peptide representing residues 315-334 of the intracellular loop of the beta 2 subunit. The antibody, which had been affinity-purified, recognized the beta 2 peptide but did not immunolabel homologous beta 1 and beta 3 subunit peptides, indicating that this antibody is specific for the beta 2 subunit of the receptor. In western blots of the purified receptor, the antibody recognized a major diffuse band of 54-58 kDa and exhibited minor labeling of lower-molecular-mass polypeptides. In western blots of cortex homogenate, the antibody exhibited nervous system-specific labeling of a 55-kDa band that comigrated with the 55-kDa band of the purified receptor. Quantitative immunolabeling of this 55-kDa polypeptide permitted direct determination of the relative amounts of the beta 2 subunit in different brain regions. The brainstem contained the highest relative specific activity of the beta 2 subunit, followed by the inferior colliculus, olfactory lobe, and cerebellum. Lower levels of immunolabeling were seen in hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus, and cortex.


Journal article


J Neurochem

Publication Date





2034 - 2040


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Antibodies, Blotting, Western, Brain, Brain Stem, Cerebellum, Cerebral Cortex, Chromatography, Affinity, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Hippocampus, In Situ Hybridization, Macromolecular Substances, Molecular Sequence Data, Molecular Weight, Organ Specificity, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Receptors, GABA-A