Distribution of Vesicular Glutamate Transporter 2 and Glutamate Receptor 1 mRNA in the Central Nervous System of the Pigeon (Columba Livia)

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Glutamate acts as the excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) and is mediated largely by the vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT1–3) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) types of glutamate receptors (GluR1–4) in mammals. In the present study, we determined the cDNA sequences of pigeon VGLUT2 and GluR1 and mapped the distribution of their mRNA in the pigeon CNS. The predicted amino acids of pigeon VGLUT2 and GluR1 showed a 93% identity to human VGLUT2 and GluR1 both. In situ hybridization autoradiograms showed VGLUT2 mRNA expression exclusively in the pallium of the telencephalon, and no expression in the subpallium. Within the diencephalon, VGLUT2 mRNA was more abundant in the thalamus than in the hypothalamus. Rich VGLUT2 mRNA expression was found in the optic tectum, nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis, nucleus isthmi, pars parvocellularis, isthmo-optic nucleus, pontine nuclei, and granular layer of the cerebellum. Moderate expression was noted in the cerebellar nuclei, vestibular nuclei, cochlear nuclei, inferior olivary nucleus, and gray matter of the spinal cord. GluR1 mRNA was expressed abundantly in the pallium and subpallium of the telencephalon, but it was poor in the diencephalon, midbrain, medulla, cerebellar cortex, and gray matter of the spinal cord. These results suggest that the cDNA sequences of VGLUT2 and GluR1 in the pigeon are comparable to those of VGLUT2 and GluR1 in mammals, respectively. The distribution of pigeon GluR1 mRNA resembles that of mammals, but the distribution of VGLUT2 mRNA resembles that of both VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in mammals.

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