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Gene Expr Patterns. 2007 Feb;7(4):485-90. Epub 2006 Nov 7.

Expression of cytosolic branched chain aminotransferase (BCATc) mRNA in the developing mouse brain.

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  • 1Istituto di Neuroscienze del C.N.R., Pisa, Italy.


Branched-chain aminotransferase (BCAT) catalyzes the transamination of essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine) with alpha-ketoglutarate. Through this reaction, BCAAs provide nitrogen for the synthesis of glutamate, the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter. Two BCAT isoforms have been identified: one cytosolic (BCATc) and one mitochondrial (BCATm). In adult rodents, BCATc is expressed in a wide variety of structures of the central nervous system (CNS), in neurons. So far, no data were available about the expression of BCATc in the developing CNS. Here, we analyse the expression profile of BCATc mRNA in the mouse brain from embryonic day 12.5 to adult age. BCATc mRNA gradually appears in different brain regions starting from early stages of neural development, and is maintained until adulthood. BCATc mRNA is predominantly present in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, thalamus, ventral midbrain, raphe, cerebellum and precerebellar system. This study represents the first detailed analysis of BCATc mRNA expression in the developing mouse brain.

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