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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential expression of utrophin and dystrophin in CNS neurons: an in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical study.

The cellular distribution of utrophin, the autosomal homologue of dystrophin, was investigated in developing and adult rat and mouse brain by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Digoxigenin-labeled cRNA probes complementary to N-terminal, rod-domain, and C-terminal encoding sequences of utrophin were used to differentiate between full-length and short C-terminal isoforms. Largely overlapping distribution patterns were seen for the three probes in neurons of cerebral cortex, accessory olfactory bulb, and several sensory and motor brainstem nuclei as well as in blood vessels, pia mater, and choroid plexus. The C-terminal probe was detected in addition in the main olfactory bulb, striatum, thalamic reticular nucleus, and hypothalamus, suggesting a selective expression of G-utrophin in these neurons. Western blot analysis with isoform-specific antisera confirmed the expression of both full-length and G-utrophin in brain. Immunohistochemically, only full-length utrophin was detected in neurons, in close association with the plasma membrane. In addition, intense staining was seen in blood vessels, meninges, and choroid plexus, selectively localized in the basolateral membrane of immunopositive epithelial cells. The expression pattern of utrophin was already established at early postnatal stages and did not change thereafter. Double-labeling analysis revealed that utrophin and dystrophin are differentially expressed on the cellular and subcellular levels in juvenile and adult brain. Likewise, in mice lacking full-length dystrophin isoforms (mdx mice), no change in utrophin expression and distribution could be detected in brain, although utrophin was markedly up-regulated in muscle cells. These results suggest that utrophin and dystrophin are independently regulated and have distinct functional roles in CNS neurons.[1]


  1. Differential expression of utrophin and dystrophin in CNS neurons: an in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical study. Knuesel, I., Bornhauser, B.C., Zuellig, R.A., Heller, F., Schaub, M.C., Fritschy, J.M. J. Comp. Neurol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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