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Comparative expression of the inward rectifier K+ channel GIRK2 in the cerebellum of normal and weaver mutant mice.

I Lauritzen, J de Weille, C Adelbrecht, F Lesage, G Murer, R Raisman-Vozari, M Lazdunski

Brain Res., 1997 Apr 4 , 753, 8-17

The main target for degeneration associated with the weaver mutation is the cerebellum. Expression of the GIRK2 mRNA and protein was studied in cerebellum of 12- and 22-day-old normal and weaver mice. In 12-day-old mice, GIRK2 is expressed at highest levels in the external granule layer (EGL) and in lower levels in the newly forming internal granule layer (IGL). In the weaver cerebellum, a high hybridization signal and dark immunostaining was observed in the EGL due to the higher density of non-migrated cells. In 22-day-old weaver cerebella, there are only few remaining granule cells existing as scattered cells within the IGL and molecular layer. GIRK2 is expressed in these neurons but the majority of cells expressing GIRK2 in these cerebella are Purkinje cells that are also affected by the weaver mutation (position, shape) but have not died. Normal cerebellar granule neurons but not homozygous mutant neurons in primary cultures and cerebellar slices of 8-day-old mice displayed inward rectifier K+ currents. Taken together, these findings suggest that cell loss in the weaver cerebellum is not directly related to a differential content of GIRK2 in the affected neurons during development. The lethal effect of the weaver mutation in specific neurons is probably due to a combination of the abnormal function of the inward rectifier K+ channels and other factors specific to the vulnerable neurons.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9125426