Antipeptide antisera specific for TM-4 and TMBr-3, the two tropomyosin isoforms in neurons, were used to investigate the concentrations and distributions of these F-actin-binding proteins in neurons in vitro and in vivo. TM-4 and TMBr-3 tropomyosins had different developmental profiles. TM-4 was found mainly in immature stages, while the concentration of TMBr-3 increased with maturation. The two isoforms also had different subcellular distributions. TM-4 was concentrated in the growth cones of cultured neurons and, in vivo, in areas where neurites were growing. Later, when development was complete, TM-4 was restricted to postsynaptic sites in the cerebellar cortex, whereas TMBr-3 was found in the presynaptic terminals. These data suggest that the tropomyosin isoforms have different functions, through their interaction with the actin cytoskeleton. TM-4 may be involved in the motile events of neurite growth and synaptic plasticity, while TMBr-3 could play a role in stabilizing neuronal networks and synaptic functioning.

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