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Cerebellum. 2006;5(2):77-88.

From clusters to stripes: the developmental origins of adult cerebellar compartmentation.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Genes and Development Research Group, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Many aspects of the adult cerebellum are organized into parasagittal stripes, including several types of neurons and prominent afferent and efferent projections. Purkinje cells are the best-studied example of parasagittal organization in the cerebellum and, in particular, zebrin II/aldolase C is the stereotypical molecular marker of Purkinje cell stripe heterogeneity in the adult. Zebrin II is a member of the so-called 'late-onset' class of parasagittal markers, which are first expressed shortly after the birth of the mouse and do not reach maturity until 2-3 weeks postnatal. In contrast, 'early-onset' pattern markers are expressed in ordered Purkinje cell clusters in the embryonic cerebellum but become expressed homogeneously shortly after birth. The approximately 10 day temporal gap between the patterned expression of early and late markers has impeded the identification of putative genealogical relationships between clusters and stripes. This review will describe Purkinje cell patterns and their transitions, and critically discuss the evidence for genealogical relationships between early and late patterns.

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