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Neurosci Lett. 2006 Mar 6;395(2):114-7. Epub 2005 Nov 21.

Expression patterns of neurexin-1 and neuroligins in brain and retina of the chick embryo: Neuroligin-3 is absent in retina.

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  • 1Developmental Biology and Neurogenetics, Darmstadt University of Technology, Schnittspahnstrasse 3, D-64287, Darmstadt, Germany. paraoanu@bio.tu-darmstadt.de


Neuroligins (NLs) constitute a family of cell-surface proteins that interact with neurexins (beta-Nxs), another class of neuronal cell-surface proteins, one of each class functioning together in synapse formation. The localization of the various neurexins and neuroligins, however, has not yet been clarified in chicken. Therefore, we studied the expression patterns of neurexin-1 (Nx-1) and neuroligin-1 and -3 during embryonic development of the chick retina and brain by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization (ISH). While neurexin-1 increased continuously in both brain and retina, the expression of both neuroligins was more variable. As shown by ISH, Nx-1 is expressed in the inner half retina along with differentiation of ganglion and amacrine cells. Transcripts of NL-1 were detected as early as day 4 and increased with the maturation of the different brain regions. In different brain regions, NL-1 showed a different time regulation. Remarkably, neuroligin-3 was entirely absent in retina. This study indicates that synaptogenetic processes in brain and retina use different molecular machineries, whereby the neuroligins might represent the more distinctly regulated part of the neurexin-neuroligin complexes. Noticeably, NL-3 does not seem to be involved in the making of retinal synapses.

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