Myelin basic protein is a zinc-binding protein in brain: Possible role in myelin compaction

D. Tsang, Y. S. Tsang, W. K.K. Ho, Ricky N S WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The zinc-binding proteins (ZnBPs) in porcine brain were characterized by the radioactive zinc-blot technique. Three ZnBPs of molecular weights about 53 kDa, 42 kDa, and 21 kDa were identified. The 53 kDa and 42 kDa ZnBPs were found in all subcellular fractions while the 21 kDa ZnBP was mainly associated with particulate fractions. This 21 kDa ZnBP was identified by internal protein sequence data as the myelin basic protein. Further characterization of its electrophoretic properties and cyanogen bromide cleavage pattern with the authentic protein confirmed its identity. The zinc binding properties of myelin basic protein are metal specific, concentration dependent and pH dependent. The zinc binding property is conferred by the histidine residues since modification of these residues by diethyl- pyrocarbonate would abolish this activity. Furthermore, zinc ion was found to potentiate myelin basic protein-induced phospholipid vesicle aggregation. It is likely that zinc plays an important role in myelin compaction by interacting with myelin basic protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-819
Number of pages9
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • Myelin
  • Myelin basic protein
  • Porcine brain
  • Zinc-binding protein


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