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Brain Res. 2007 Mar 30;1139:95-109. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Widespread expression of ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4 in non-human primate brain.

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MiNDS Unit Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, IRP/NIMH/NIH, NIH, Mail Stop #1385, Building 10 Room 4D18, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Neuregulin (NRG) signaling proteins interact with ErbB receptors leading to the proliferation, differentiation and migration of neurons and glia in the developing brain. NRG-1/ErbB4 are susceptibility genes for schizophrenia, yet little is known about the neuroanatomical expression of ErbB receptors specifically in primates. We find widespread expression of ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4 receptor mRNAs throughout the telencephalon of juvenile and adult monkeys with in situ hybridization, with ErbB2 and ErbB4 mRNA more abundant than ErbB3 mRNA. ErbB2 and ErbB4 mRNA are expressed at higher levels in grey matter compared to white matter, whereas ErbB3 mRNA is expressed at low levels in both grey and white matter. We also characterized ErbB protein expression with immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. In frontal cortex, ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4 antibodies immunostained neuronal soma and nuclei. The ErbB2 antibody also immunostained glia at the pial surface. Within white matter, ErbB3 and ErbB4 proteins were localized to putative interstitial white matter neurons while ErbB2 protein was found in glia. Western blotting revealed immunopositive bands at approximately 180-200 kDa for each ErbB, which is consistent with the size of full-length ErbBs. Smaller immunopositive bands were also identified for each ErbB receptor in whole brain homogenates and separate cytoplasmic and nuclear extracts suggesting nuclear ErbB-back-signaling capacity in the brain. The ubiquitous expression of ErbB receptors indicates that many cell populations throughout the brain of juvenile and adult primates have the potential to respond to NRG-1 in a variety of ways.

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