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J Comp Neurol. 2003 Aug 25;463(3):303-15.

Missplicing resulting from a short deletion in the reelin gene causes reeler-like neuronal disorders in the mutant shaking rat Kawasaki.

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  • 1Division of Anatomy and Developmental Neurobiology, Department of Neuroscience, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


The shaking rat Kawasaki (SRK) is an autosomal recessive mutant that exhibits reeler-like abnormal locomotor behaviors. The murine reeler mutants arise from several mutations in the specific gene called reelin, which result in defects of Reelin expression or secretion in the cerebral cortex and other regions of CNS. To address the issue of whether the SRK mutation also arises from a mutation in reelin, we analyzed the reelin gene in SRK. Northern analysis of reelin mRNA from normal rats showed that rat reelin was expressed as a approximately 12-kb transcript in both the cerebrum and the cerebellum, whereas reelin expression was markedly reduced in the SRK brains. In situ hybridization analysis showed that reelin mRNA in the SRK brains was expressed in Cajal-Retzius cells in the marginal zone of the cerebral cortex and outer granular cells in the cerebellar cortex in similar manners to normal controls, but its expression was considerably reduced. On Western blotting and immunohistochemical analyses using antibodies specific for the Reelin protein, no immunoproduct was recognized in the cerebral and cerebellar cortices. From the cDNA sequences, we found a 64-base heterologous sequence in SRK reelin, which contains a termination codon in the reading frame. Furthermore, genomic DNA analysis revealed that a 10-base deletion, which contains a predicted splice donor site, occurred in the SRK genomic reelin gene, resulting in "read through" into the following intron in SRK. Thus, the SRK mutation is another type of mutation that lacks expression of the functional Reelin protein and, therefore, causes the reeler phenotype.

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