SUMMARY: Although tetanus toxin is fixed by brain ganglioside, it is not fixed by a number of substances more or less closely related to brain ganglioside, or by naturally occurring brain ganglioside not containing hexosamine, or by a hexosamine-containing ganglioside from Tay-Sachs brain. Isolated brain gangliosides may vary considerably in their toxin-fixing capacities. In chloroform + methanol extracts of brain a number of gangliosides which differ in ability to fix toxin can be separated chromatographically. Complexes of ganglioside with phrenosine and sphingomyelin have diminished toxin-fixing capacity. Tetanus toxin and ganglioside have a high binding capacity for calcium, but calcium does not affect the fixation of toxin by ganglioside. Ganglioside fixes strychnine, brucine and thebaine, drugs which have the same neurophysiological activity as tetanus toxin. Ganglioside does not fix γ-aminobutyric acid, β-hydroxy-γ-aminobutyric acid, histamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline or dopamine, but it does fix serotonin and a number of related compounds. It has been confirmed that albumin is fixed to a small extent by ganglioside at low salt concentration, but (unlike tetanus toxin) this fixation is practically abolished at physiological salt concentration.


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