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Dev Biol. 1992 Sep;153(1):158-64.

Transient increase in expression of a glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) mRNA during the postnatal development of the rat striatum.

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Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


We recently reported that the mammalian brain has two forms of the GABA synthetic enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD, E.C., which are the products of two genes. The two forms, which we call GAD65 and GAD67, differ from each other in sequence, molecular size, subcellular distribution, and interactions with the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), with GAD65 activity more dependent than that of GAD67 on the continued presence of exogenous PLP. The existence of two GAD genes suggests that individual GABA neurons may be subject to differential regulation of GABA production. We have examined the expression of these two forms of GAD during postnatal development of the rat striatum to determine whether different classes of GABA neurons selectively express different amounts of the two GAD mRNAs. Here we present evidence for a dramatic developmental difference in the expression of the two mRNAs during postnatal development of the rat striatum. Using in situ hybridization to the two GAD mRNAs, we observed a selective increase in GAD65 mRNA during the second postnatal week, at the time when striatal matrix neurons innervate the substantia nigra (SN). PLP-dependent enzyme activity in the midbrain increases in parallel with increased expression of GAD65 mRNA in the striatum. We hypothesize that the innervation of the SN by striatal neurons triggers an increase in GAD65. The changing ratios of GAD65 and GAD67 in the striatum may contribute to the well-documented changes in seizure susceptibility that occur in early life.

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