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

Selective failure of brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA expression in the cerebellum of stargazer, a mutant mouse with ataxia.

In search of the possible involvement of neurotrophic factors in inherited neurological disease, we examined brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) mRNA expression patterns in the ataxic mutant mouse stargazer (stg). Using in situ hybridization, we found a selective and near total reduction in BDNF mRNA in the cerebellar granule cell layer. NT-3 or NGF mRNA expression in the cerebellum was normal. Northern blot analysis demonstrated a 70% reduction in BDNF mRNA in the whole cerebellum. BDNF mRNA levels in other mutant brain regions were unchanged. Absence of BDNF mRNA in granule cells was observed at postnatal age (P15), coincident with the onset of ataxia, and expression levels failed to follow the developmental increase found in the wild type at later ages (P20 and P30). Despite the severe BDNF reduction, in situ hybridization patterns for both the full-length and the truncated BDNF TrkB receptor mRNA were unaltered. No major cytoarchitectural abnormalities were apparent in the stg/stg cerebellum. BDNF expression in a related ataxic mutant, tottering, was unaltered. These data show that BDNF can be regulated selectively in distinct brain regions, possibly by differential activation of its multiple promoters. Absence of cerebellar granule cell BDNF mRNA in stg/stg mice demonstrates that sustained expression of this neurotrophin is not required for cell survival in the developing cerebellar cortex. Our data, in contrast, suggest a role of BDNF in maturation of specific cerebellar neurons and pathways. Early failure of cerebellar BDNF expression may be related to the ataxic phenotype in stg mice.[1]


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