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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58259. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058259. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Ablation of BRaf impairs neuronal differentiation in the postnatal hippocampus and cerebellum.

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  • 1Institute for Medical Radiation and Cell Research (MSZ), University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


This study focuses on the role of the kinase BRaf in postnatal brain development. Mice expressing truncated, non-functional BRaf in neural stem cell-derived brain tissue demonstrate alterations in the cerebellum, with decreased sizes and fuzzy borders of the glomeruli in the granule cell layer. In addition we observed reduced numbers and misplaced ectopic Purkinje cells that showed an altered structure of their dendritic arborizations in the hippocampus, while the overall cornus ammonis architecture appeared to be unchanged. In male mice lacking BRaf in the hippocampus the size of the granule cell layer was normal at postnatal day 12 (P12) but diminished at P21, as compared to control littermates. This defect was caused by a reduced ability of dentate gyrus progenitor cells to differentiate into NeuN positive granule cell neurons. In vitro cell culture of P0/P1 hippocampal cells revealed that BRaf deficient cells were impaired in their ability to form microtubule-associated protein 2 positive neurons. Together with the alterations in behaviour, such as autoaggression and loss of balance fitness, these observations indicate that in the absence of BRaf all neuronal cellular structures develop, but neuronal circuits in the cerebellum and hippocampus are partially disturbed besides impaired neuronal generation in both structures.

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