Roles of Cdc42 and Rac in Bergmann glia during cerebellar corticogenesis

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Bergmann glia (BG) are important in the inward type of radial migration of cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs). However, details regarding the functions of Cdc42 and Rac in BG for radial migration of CGN are unknown. To examine the roles of Cdc42 and Rac in BG during cerebellar corticogenesis, mice with a single deletion of Cdc42 or Rac1 and those with double deletions of Cdc42 and Rac1 under control of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter: GFAP-Cre;Cdc42flox/flox (Cdc42-KO), GFAP–Cre;Rac1flox/flox (Rac1-KO), and GFAP-Cre; Cdc42flox/flox;Rac1flox/flox (Cdc42/Rac1-DKO) mice, were generated. Both Cdc42-KO and Rac1-KO mice, but more obviously Cdc42-KO mice, had disturbed alignment of BG in the Purkinje cell layer (PCL). We found that Cdc42-KO, but not Rac1-KO, induced impaired radial migration of CGNs in the late phase of radial migration, leading to retention of CGNs in the lower half of the molecular layer (ML). Cdc42-KO, but not Rac1-KO, mice also showed aberrantly aligned Purkinje cells (PCs). These phenotypes were exacerbated in Cdc42/Rac1-DKO mice. Alignment of BG radial fibers in the ML and BG endfeet at the pial surface of the cerebellum evaluated by GFAP staining was disturbed and weak in Cdc42/Rac1-DKO mice, respectively. Our data indicate that Cdc42 and Rac, but predominantly Cdc42, in BG play important roles during the late phase of radial migration of CGNs. We also report here that Cdc42 is involved in gliophilic migration of CGNs, in contrast to Rac, which is more closely connected to regulating neurophilic migration.

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