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J Neurobiol. 1994 Dec;25(12):1517-32.

Expression of trk and neurotrophin mRNA in dorsal root and sympathetic ganglia of the quail during development.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn 11203.


The nerve growth factor (NGF) family of neurotrophins exerts effects by binding to products of the trk family of proto-oncogenes. We examined the expression of both trk and neurotrophin mRNA during the entire range of development of quail dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and sympathetic ganglia (SG) using in situ hybridization and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). TrkC mRNA was present in neurons or their precursors from the time of formation of DRG (stage 18, embryonic day 2.5 [E2.5]) and throughout development. The number of labeled cells changed, however, from a majority to a minority at later developmental stages. Expression of trkA mRNA was not detected in DRG until stage 30 (E6) by in situ hybridization, although results with RT-PCR were positive at stage 23 (E3.5). Labeling was always detected on a majority of neurons or their precursors. SG exhibited low levels of trkC mRNA during the later stages of development, whereas trkA mRNA was present from stage 34 onward in most neurons. We have also shown that NGF, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA were present at all stages examined (stages 23 through 45 for DRG, stages 35-36 and 45 for SG). In DRG, NGF mRNA expression was limited to support cells, whereas NT-3 and BDNF mRNA were detected in both neurons and support cells. These results suggest that neurotrophins could serve a local function in developing ganglia, which can be correlated with the presence of their respective receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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