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J Neurosci. 2009 Feb 25;29(8):2404-13. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4303-08.2009.

Neuregulin signaling is dispensable for NMDA- and GABA(A)-receptor expression in the cerebellum in vivo.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, Department of Biomedicine, Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Neuregulin-1s (NRG-1s) are a family of growth and differentiation factors with multiple roles in the development and function in different organs including the nervous system. Among the proposed functions of NRG-1s in the nervous system is the regulation of genes encoding certain neurotransmitter receptors during synapse formation as well as of other aspects of synaptic function. Here, we have examined, in granule cells of the cerebellum in vivo, the role of NRGs in the induction of NMDA receptor (NMDA-R) and GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)-R), which are thought to be induced by NRG-1 secreted by the synaptic inputs. To this end, we used the Cre/loxP system to genetically ablate the NRG receptors ErbB2 and ErbB4 selectively in these cells, thus eliminating all NRG-mediated signaling to them. Unlike previous reports using cultured granule cells to address the same question, we found that the developmental expression patterns of the mRNAs encoding the NR2C subunit of the NMDA-R and the beta2-subunit of the GABA(A)-R is normal in mice lacking the NRG receptors ErbB2 and ErbB4. Likewise, no alterations in cerebellar morphology nor in certain aspects of cerebellar wiring were resolved in these mutants. We conclude that NRG/ErbB signaling to the granule cells is dispensable for the normal development of their synaptic inputs.

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