Expression ofpcp4ain subpopulations of CNS neurons in zebrafish

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Abstract

The molecular organization of the zebrafish brain and its relation to neuroanatomical divisions are still largely unknown. In this study we have analyzed the expression of a small transcript encoding for the IQ containing polypeptide Pcp4a in developing and juvenile zebrafish. The transcript is exclusively expressed in neural structures with a pattern that is highly specific for restricted domains and cell populations throughout development, and it allows us to follow the development of these structures at different times. The expression of pcp4a characterizes the dorsocaudal telencephalon, dorsal habenula, pretectal nuclei, preglomerular complex, mammillary bodies, and deep layers of the optic tectum and is a hallmark of a subpopulation of reticulospinal neurons. In the telencephalon, comparison of the expression of pcp4a with other pallial markers showed a rostrocaudal gradient in the expression of these genes, which suggests that the dorsal telencephalon of zebrafish may be organized in distinct areas with different molecular natures. Pcp4 has been involved in modulating calcium signals and in binding to calmodulin, but its precise role in neuronal functions is not known. The analysis of pcp4a expression and localization in the zebrafish brain suggests that pcp4a may be a useful marker for sensory and some motor neuronal circuitries and for telencephalic areas processing sensory inputs.

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