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Neurosci Res. 1999 Apr;33(4):275-80.

Distribution of AP-2 subtypes in the adult mouse brain.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiba University, Japan.


In the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), transcription factor activator protein 2 (AP-2) is one of the critical regulatory factors for neural gene expression and neural development. As AP-2 has diverged into several subtypes, i.e. AP-2alpha, -2beta, and 2.2, we investigated the distribution of the AP-2 subtypes in the adult mouse brain by in situ hybridization using subtype-specific probes. Though AP-2 was essentially expressed in most regions of the brain, the hippocampus and cerebellum Purkinje cells exhibited a relatively high concentration of transcripts of any of the AP-2 subtypes. Among AP-2alpha variants, the expression of variant 1 was considerably lower than that of variant 3. Hence, the expression pattern of AP-2alpha variant 3 is suggested to represent the major gene expression of AP-2alpha. On the other hand, the expression of AP-2beta messenger RNA (mRNA) was higher than that of AP-2alpha in many regions. Especially, the olfactory bulb, hippocampus, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex contained an abundance of these mRNAs. Different from those of AP-2alpha, AP-2beta mRNAs were detected in considerable amounts in the glanular cells as well as in Purkinje cells. AP-2.2 gene expression was weak throughout the brain. Consequently, we found that various AP-2 subtypes and variants were expressed in a similar distribution pattern with each having its own specific intensity but that their precise distribution profiles were not exactly the same. In the mature brain, AP-2 is thought to regulate neural gene expression through specific and redundant association with a target gene.

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