Cadherin expression in the somatosensory cortex: evidence for a combinatorial molecular code at the single-cell level

University of Jena School of Medicine, Teichgraben 7, D-07743 Jena, Germany.
Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.33). 02/2011; 175:37-48. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.11.056
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cadherin superfamily genes play a role in a wide variety of developmental processes and mature functions of the vertebrate brain. In the present study, we mapped in situ the expression pattern of five classic cadherins (Cdh4, Cdh6, Cdh7, Cdh8, Cdh11) and eight δ-protocadherins (Pcdh1, Pcdh7, Pcdh8, Pcdh9, Pcdh10, Pcdh11, Pcdh17 and Pcdh19) in the primary somatosensory cortex of the adult mouse. All of these cadherins show layer-specific expression profiles in primary somatosensory cortex. Some cadherins (for example, Cdh4, Cdh7, Pcdh8) mark subsets of cells within a given lamina, while other cadherins (Cdh11 and Pcdh10) are expressed more widely in multiple layers. Results from tyramide-based double-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) provide evidence that most single neurons express more than one cadherin in a combinatorial fashion in all layers of cerebral cortex. This combinatorial code is rather comprehensive because pairwise expression of cadherins can assume any type of combination (complementarity, partial or complete overlap, subset-specific expression, cell-size specific expression, etc.). We propose that the combinatorial expression of multiple cadherin genes contributes to the molecular specification of the vast complexity of neurons in cerebral cortex.

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Nicole Schmid-Hertel