The expression of the nerve growth factor-inducible gene VGF has been examined by in situ hybridization. Western blot and immunohistochemical studies in the developing and adult rat central nervous system, with particular emphasis on the visual system. Both the messenger RNA and the protein are particularly abundant in the developing dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, appearing, respectively, at embryonal day 16 and 18. After its onset at E16, VGF messenger RNA expression increases progressively in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus and remains high during the first two post-natal weeks; afterwards, it gradually decreases and, at the offset of the plasticity period, it reaches very low levels maintained in adulthood. A similar time course has been observed for VGF protein in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus area, by semi-quantitative Western blots. In addition to the presence of the protein in the geniculate neurons, a strong, transient immunoreactivity has been found at the embryonic cortical subplate at E18, reflecting the presence of the antigen in axonal terminals originating from thalamic neurons. Interestingly, we found that the blockade of afferent electrical activity by intraocular injection of tetrodotoxin strongly reduces the level of VGF messenger RNA in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Although the function of the VGF protein is not known, it had been previously proposed that VGF could be a precursor for neuropeptide/s. The spatiotemporal expression of VGF, together with the observation of a regulation by electrical activity, suggest that this protein may be relevant in the process of synaptogenesis and/or synaptic stabilization in the developing geniculocortical connections.
|Titolo:||A developmentally regulated nerve growth factor-induced gene, VGF, is expressed in geniculocortical afferents during synaptogenesis|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1995|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|