Identification of genes differentially expressed in dorsal and ventral chick midbrain during early Development

Chittka, A.; Volff, J. N.; Wizenmann, A.
January 2009
BMC Developmental Biology;2009, Vol. 9, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: During the development of the central nervous system (CNS), patterning processes along the dorsoventral (DV) axis of the neural tube generate different neuronal subtypes. As development progresses these neurons are arranged into functional units with varying cytoarchitecture, such as laminae or nuclei for efficient relaying of information. Early in development ventral and dorsal regions are similar in size and structure. Different proliferation rates and cell migration patterns are likely to result in the formation of laminae or nuclei, eventually. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that establish these different structural arrangements are not well understood. We undertook a differential display polymerase chain reaction (DD-PCR) screen to identify genes with distinct expression patterns between dorsal and ventral regions of the chick midbrain in order to identify genes which regulate the sculpturing of such divergent neuronal organisation. We focused on the DV axis of the early chick midbrain since mesencephalic alar plate and basal plate develop into laminae and nuclei, respectively. Results: We identified 53 differentially expressed bands in our initial screen. Twenty-six of these could be assigned to specific genes and we could unambiguously show the differential expression of five of the isolated cDNAs in vivo by in situ mRNA expression analysis. Additionally, we verified differential levels of expression of a selected number of genes by using reverse transcriptase (RT) PCR method with gene-specific primers. One of these genes, QR1, has been previously cloned and we present here a detailed study of its early developmental time course and pattern of expression providing some insights into its possible function. Our phylogenetic analysis of QR1 shows that it is the chick orthologue of Sparc-like 1/ Hevin/Mast9 gene in mice, rats, dogs and humans, a protein involved in cell adhesion. Conclusion: This study reveals some possible networks, which might be involved in directing the difference in neuronal specification and cytoarchitecture observed in the brain.


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