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BMC Neurosci. 2013 Jul 11;14:68. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-14-68.

LOC689986, a unique gene showing specific expression in restricted areas of the rodent neocortex.

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Dr E, Martens Research Group for Biological Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.



The neocortex is a highly specialised and complex brain structure, involved in numerous tasks, ranging from processing and interpretation of somatosensory information, to control of motor functions. The normal function linked to distinct neocortical areas might involve control of highly specific gene expression, and in order to identify such regionally enriched genes, we previously analysed the global gene expression in three different cortical regions (frontomedial, temporal and occipital cortex) from the adult rat brain. We identified distinct sets of differentially expressed genes. One of these genes, namely the hypothetical protein LOC689986 (LOC689986), was of particular interest, due to an almost exclusive expression in the temporal cortex.


Detailed analysis of LOC689986 in the adult rat brain confirmed the expression in confined areas of parieto-temporal cortex, and revealed highly specific expression in layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex, with sharp borders towards the neighbouring motor cortex. In addition, LOC689986 was found to be translated in vivo, and was detected in the somatosensory cortex and in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex. The protein was present in neuronal dendrites and also in astrocyte cells. Finally, this unique gene is apparently specific for, and highly conserved in, the vertebrate lineage.


In this study, we have partially characterised the highly conserved LOC689986 gene, which is specific to the vertebrate linage. The gene displays a distinct pattern of expression in layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex, and areas of the parieto-temporal cortex in rodents.

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