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Girk2 expression in the ventral midbrain, cerebellum, and olfactory bulb and its relationship to the murine mutation weaver.

J C Schein, D D Hunter, S Roffler-Tarlov

Dev. Biol., 1998 Dec 15 , 204, 432-50

The mouse mutant weaver exhibits developmental deficits and cell death in several neuronal classes. weaver is almost certainly a mutation in the potassium channel, Girk2. In some vulnerable neurons, including those in the midbrain, it is not known whether weaver expression is the primary defect, or whether deficits are secondary to weaver expression elsewhere. In wild-type mice, our results point to subsets of dopamine-containing cells of the midbrain as primary targets of weaver. In the midbrain, all Girk2-positive cells examined in A9 (substantia nigra), A10, and A8 (retrorubral nucleus) are tyrosine hydroxylase-positive. The expression of Girk2 varies among and within these regions. Girk2-positive cells are most numerous in the substantia nigra, pars compacta, a region badly affected in homozygous weavers; in this region, Girk2 expression is found in cell somata and dendrites. In addition, in homozygous weavers, the remaining neuronal processes in A9 (as well as A8) are stunted. Within A10, a region largely spared in weaver homozygotes, Girk2 expression is undetectable in the most medially placed nuclei and is present in the nuclei that border A9. In the cerebellum, Girk2 immunoreactivity was also found in somata and dendrites of populations vulnerable to weaver, including the deep cerebellar nuclei. In a region not previously known to be affected, the olfactory bulb, Girk2 protein is detectable only in processes. The expression of mutated Girk2 has consequences for the olfactory bulb where ectopic cells are present in the external plexiform layer of the homozygous weaver. Our results emphasize that the Girk2 mutation may act to alter the development and maintenance of cell processes and that defects may be present in all Girk2-containing regions in weaver mutants.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9882481