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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Mar 28;97(7):3550-5.

Colocalization of integrin receptors and reelin in dendritic spine postsynaptic densities of adult nonhuman primate cortex.

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  • 1Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The expression of telencephalic reelin (Reln) and glutamic acid decarboxylase mRNAs and their respective cognate proteins is down-regulated in postmortem brains of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients. To interpret the pathophysiological significance of this finding, immunoelectron microscopic experiments are required, but these cannot be carried out in postmortem human brains. As an alternative, we carried out such experiments in the cortex of rats and nonhuman primates. We found that Reln is expressed predominantly in layer I of both cortices and is localized to bitufted (double-bouquet), horizontal, and multipolar gamma-aminobutyric acid-ergic interneurons, which secrete Reln into extracellular matrix. Reln secretion is mediated by a constitutive mechanism that depends on the expression of a specific signal peptide present in the Reln carboxy-terminal domain. Extracellular matrix Reln is found to aggregate in proximity of postsynaptic densities expressed in apical dendrite spines, which include also the alpha(3) subunit of integrin receptors. Most pyramidal neurons of various cortical layers express the mouse-disabled 1 (Dab1) protein, which, after phosphorylation by a soluble tyrosine kinase, functions as an adapter protein, probably mediating a modulation of cytoskeleton protein expression. We hypothesize that the decrease of neuropil and dendritic spine density reported to exist in the neocortex of psychiatric patients may be related to a down-regulation of Reln-integrin interactions and the consequent decrease of cytoskeleton protein turnover.

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