Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 375, Issue 2, pp 507–529 | Cite as

The subcommissural organ and the Reissner fiber: old friends revisited

  • Rosa I. Muñoz
  • Thilo Kähne
  • Hernán Herrera
  • Sara Rodríguez
  • Ma. Montserrat Guerra
  • Karin Vío
  • René Hennig
  • Erdmann Rapp
  • Esteban RodríguezEmail author
Regular Article


The subcommissural organ (SCO) is an ancient and conserved brain gland secreting into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glycoproteins that form the Reissner fiber (RF). The present investigation was designed to further investigate the dynamic of the biosynthetic process of RF glycoproteins prior and after their release into the CSF, to identify the RF proteome and N-glycome and to clarify the mechanism of assembly of RF glycoproteins. Various methodological approaches were used: biosynthetic labelling injecting 35S-cysteine and 3H-galactose into the CSF, injection of antibodies against galectin-1 into the cerebrospinal fluid, light and electron microscopical methods; isolated bovine RF was used for proteome analyses by mass spectrometry and glycome analysis by xCGE-LIF. The biosynthetic labelling study further supported that a small pool of SCO-spondin molecules rapidly enter the secretory pathways after its synthesis, while most of the SCO-spondin molecules are stored in the rough endoplasmic reticulum for hours or days before entering the secretory pathway and being released to assemble into RF. The proteomic analysis of RF revealed clusterin and galectin-1 as partners of SCO-spondin; the in vivo use of anti-galectin-1 showed that this lectin is essential for the assembly of RF. Galectin-1 is not secreted by the SCO but evidence was obtained that it would be secreted by multiciliated ependymal cells lying close to the SCO. Further, a surprising variety and complexity of glycan structures were identified in the RF N-glycome that further expands the potential functions of RF to a level not previously envisaged. A model of the macromolecular organization of Reissner fiber is proposed.


Subcommissural organ SCO-spondin Galectin-1 Clusterin Reissner fiber assembly Biosynthetic labelling Mass spectrometry Immunoblockage Immunocytochemistry N-glycome 



Antisera raised in rabbits against isolated bovine fiber of Reissner dissolved in urea


Cerebrospinal fluid




Rough endoplasmic reticulum


Reissner fiber


Aqueduct of Sylvius


Subcommissural organ



The authors wish to acknowledge FRIVAL Ltda. (Valdivia) and the valuable technical support of Mr. Genaro Alvial and Yvonne Ducho and the Confocal and Electron Microscopy Core Facilities of Universidad Austral de Chile. The study was supported by Fondecyt 1000435, 1070241 and 1111018 to EMR.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa I. Muñoz
    • 1
  • Thilo Kähne
    • 2
  • Hernán Herrera
    • 1
  • Sara Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Ma. Montserrat Guerra
    • 1
  • Karin Vío
    • 1
  • René Hennig
    • 3
    • 4
  • Erdmann Rapp
    • 3
    • 4
  • Esteban Rodríguez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Anatomía, Histología y Patología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  2. 2.Institute of Experimental Internal MedicineOtto-von-Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical SystemsMagdeburgGermany
  4. 4.glyXera GmbHMagdeburgGermany

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