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Cereb Cortex. 2011 May;21(5):1105-17. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq183. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Absence of layer-specific cadherin expression profiles in the neocortex of the reeler mutant mouse.

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Institute of Anatomy I, University of Jena School of Medicine, Jena University Hospital, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Cadherins are a superfamily of Ca(2+)-dependent cell surface glycoproteins that play a morphogenetic role in a wide variety of developmental processes. They provide a code of potentially adhesive cues for layer formation in mammalian cerebral cortex. One of the animal models used for studying corticogenesis is the reeler mouse. Previous investigations showed that radial neuronal migration is impaired in this mutant, possibly resulting in an inversion of cortical layers. However, the extent of this "outside-in" cortical layering remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the mRNA expression of cadherins (Cdh4, Cdh6, Cdh7, Cdh8, Pcdh8, Pcdh9, Pcdh11, Pcdh17, and Pcdh19) in the cerebral cortex of wild-type (wt) mice and reeler mutants. All cadherins show a layer-specific expression profile in wt mice, but, in reeler cortex, cadherin-expressing cells are distributed widely across the radial dimension. The altered layering in reeler mutants completely disrupts the radial expression of cadherins, which is more patchy, rather than laminar. Regionalized gradient-like expression of cadherins is preserved. Our findings are compatible with a model, in which the ubiquitous dispersion of cadherin-expressing cells results from a dysgenesis of radial glial cells and a misrouting of migrating neuroblasts.

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