Developmental and Adult Expression Patterns of the G-Protein-Coupled Receptor GPR88 in the Rat: Establishment of a Dual Nuclear-Cytoplasmic Localization

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GPR88 is a neuronal cerebral orphan G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that has been linked to various psychiatric disorders. However, no extensive description of its localization has been provided so far. Here, we investigate the spatiotemporal expression of the GPR88 in prenatal and postnatal rat tissues by using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. GPR88 protein was initially detected at embryonic day 16 (E16) in the striatal primordium. From E16–E20 to adulthood, the highest expression levels of both protein and mRNA were observed in striatum, olfactory tubercle, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and neocortex, whereas in spinal cord, pons, and medulla GPR88 expression remains discrete. We observed an intracellular redistribution of GPR88 during cortical lamination. In the cortical plate of the developing cortex, GPR88 presents a classical GPCR plasma membrane/cytoplasmic localization that shifts, on the day of birth, to nuclei of neurons progressively settling in layers V to II. This intranuclear localization remains throughout adulthood and was also detected in monkey and human cortex as well as in the amygdala and hypothalamus of rats. Apart from the central nervous system, GPR88 was transiently expressed at high levels in peripheral tissues, including adrenal cortex (E16–E21) and cochlear ganglia (E19–P3), and also at moderate levels in retina (E18–E19) and spleen (E21–P7). The description of the GPR88 anatomical expression pattern may provide precious functional insights into this novel receptor. Furthermore, the GRP88 nuclear localization suggests nonclassical GPCR modes of action of the protein that could be relevant for cortical development and psychiatric disorders. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2776–2802, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.The authors investigate the spatiotemporal expression of GPR88 in prenatal and postnatal rat tissues. Although GPR88 displayed mostly a plasma membrane/cytoplasmic localization, it was enriched in nuclei of neurons of the cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus. GPR88 nuclear localization was also observed in human and nonhuman primate cortical neurons.

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