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Dev Dyn. 1997 Jan;208(1):107-14.

Expression of the helix-loop-helix genes Id-1 and NSCL-1 during cerebellar development.

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Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway 08854, USA.


Neurons throughout the central nervous system (CNS) undergo proliferation, migration, and differentiation during their histogenesis. Although numerous regulatory molecules are expressed in developing neurons, it is unknown whether most of these molecules have the same function throughout the CNS or play different roles in different neuronal populations. Previous studies have shown that Id-1 and NSCL-1 are expressed at high levels in the ventricular and subependymal zones, respectively, of the embryonic brain. In the present study, the expression of Id-1 and NSCL-1 was further investigated during postnatal development of the cerebellum. By Northern blot hybridization analysis, the expression levels of Id-1 and NSCL-1 mRNA were developmentally regulated in the cerebellum, with the highest mRNA levels coinciding with the time of maximal granule cell histogenesis. By in situ hybridization, NSCL-1 mRNA was found in the premigratory zone of the external granule layer (EGL), a structure developmentally analogous to the subependymal zone of the embryonic brain. In normal mice, Id-1 mRNA was found to be transiently expressed in the upper internal granule layer (IGL), a population of cells that recently completed their migration from the EGL. In the mouse mutant weaver, Id mRNA was only seen in granule cells that have reached their normal positions in the IGL. No Id-1 hybridization signal was observed in the large numbers of granule cells remaining in the EGL of weaver mice, indicating that Id-1 expression is controlled by spatial cues. The lack of Id-1 expression in ectopic weaver granule cells is compatible with previous suggestions of arrested differentiation. These results support the idea that transcriptional regulators of the helix-loop-helix gene family play important roles in neuronal development, exhibiting region-specific expression and function.

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