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

Expression of the mRNAs for the Kv3.1 potassium channel gene in the adult and developing rat brain.

1. The gene for a mammalian Shaw K+ channel has recently been cloned and has been shown, by alternative splicing, to give rise to two different transcripts, Kv3.1 alpha and Kv3.1 beta. To determine whether these channels are associated with specific types of neurons and to determine whether or not the alternately spliced K+ channel variants are differentially expressed, we used ribonuclease (RNase) protection assays and in situ hybridization histochemistry to localize the specific subsets of neurons containing Kv3.1 alpha and Kv3.1 beta mRNAs in the adult and developing rat brain. 2. In situ hybridization histochemistry revealed a heterogeneous expression pattern of Kv3.1 alpha mRNA in the adult rat brain. Highest Kv3.1 alpha mRNA levels were expressed in the cerebellum. High levels of hybridization were also detected in the globus pallidus, subthalamus, and substantia nigra reticulata. Many thalamic nuclei, but in particular the reticular thalamic nucleus, hybridized well to Kv3.1 alpha-specific probes. A subpopulation of cells in the cortex and hippocampus, which by their distribution and number may represent interneurons, were also found to contain high levels of Kv3.1 alpha mRNA. In the brain stem, many nuclei, including the inferior colliculus and the cochlear and vestibular nuclei, also express Kv3.1 alpha mRNA. Low or undetectable levels of Kv3.1 alpha mRNA were found in the caudate-putamen, olfactory tubercle, amygdala, and hypothalamus. 3. Kv3.1 beta mRNA was also detected in the adult rat brain by both RNase protection assays and by in situ hybridization experiments. Although the beta splice variant is expressed at lower levels than the alpha species, the overall expression pattern for both mRNAs is similar, indicating that both splice variants co-expressed in the same neurons. 4. The expression of Kv3.1 alpha and Kv3.1 beta transcripts was examined throughout development. Kv3.1 alpha mRNA is detected as early as embryonic day 17 and then increases gradually until approximately postnatal day 10, when there is a large increase in the amount of Kv3.1 alpha mRNA. Interestingly, the expression of Kv3.1 beta mRNA only increases gradually during the developmental time frame examined. Densitometric measurements indicated that Kv3.1 alpha is the predominant splice variant found in neurons of the adult brain, whereas Kv3.1 beta appears to be the predominant species in embryonic and perinatal neurons. 5. Most of the neurons that express the Kv3.1 transcripts have been characterized electrophysiologically to have narrow action potentials and display high-frequency firing rates with little or no spike adaptation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Expression of the mRNAs for the Kv3.1 potassium channel gene in the adult and developing rat brain. Perney, T.M., Marshall, J., Martin, K.A., Hockfield, S., Kaczmarek, L.K. J. Neurophysiol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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