The hallmark of Parkinson's Disease is the degenerative loss of mesencephalic dopaminergic (mDA) neurons. Previous studies have shown that the homeobox transcription factors, engrailed-1 and -2, are essential for the survival of these cells. To identify genes downstream of engrailed-1 and -2, we performed a PCR-based differential display, comparing RNA from engrailed-1/2 double mutant and wild type ventral midbrain of different embryonic ages to adult olfactory bulb, a source of unrelated DA neurons. Here, we report the result of this experiment and describe the developmental expression pattern in the ventral midbrain of three of the isolated genes, HNF3α, synaptotagmin I, and Ebf3. Though not regulated by engrailed-1 and -2, the expression of all three genes is limited to mDA neurons and a few other brain areas. HNF3α appears in the precursors of mDA neurons at E9 and is expressed in the adult brain almost exclusively by this neuronal population. Synaptotagmin I is expressed from E14 into adulthood. Ebf3, in contrast, is transiently expressed during early postmitotic differentiation.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2004
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