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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 4;106(31):12741-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902417106. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Transcriptome of embryonic and neonatal mouse cortex by high-throughput RNA sequencing.

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Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Brain structure and function experience dramatic changes from embryonic to postnatal development. Microarray analyses have detected differential gene expression at different stages and in disease models, but gene expression information during early brain development is limited. We have generated >27 million reads to identify mRNAs from the mouse cortex for >16,000 genes at either embryonic day 18 (E18) or postnatal day 7 (P7), a period of significant synaptogenesis for neural circuit formation. In addition, we devised strategies to detect alternative splice forms and uncovered more splice variants. We observed differential expression of 3,758 genes between the 2 stages, many with known functions or predicted to be important for neural development. Neurogenesis-related genes, such as those encoding Sox4, Sox11, and zinc-finger proteins, were more highly expressed at E18 than at P7. In contrast, the genes encoding synaptic proteins such as synaptotagmin, complexin 2, and syntaxin were up-regulated from E18 to P7. We also found that several neurological disorder-related genes were highly expressed at E18. Our transcriptome analysis may serve as a blueprint for gene expression pattern and provide functional clues of previously unknown genes and disease-related genes during early brain development.

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