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Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule is conserved in mouse and highly expressed in the adult mouse brainBarlow G.M.a · Micales B.b · Lyons G.E.b · Korenberg J.R.a
aDepartment of Medical Genetics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA, Los Angeles CA; bDepartment of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison WI (USA)
Down Syndrome (DS) is a major cause of mental retardation and is associated with characteristic well-defined although subtle brain abnormalities, many of which arise after birth, with particular defects in the cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum. The neural cell adhesion molecule DSCAM (Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule) maps to 21q22.2→q22.3, a region associated with DS mental retardation, and is expressed largely in the neurons of the central and peripheral nervous systems during development. In order to evaluate the contribution of DSCAM to postnatal morphogenetic and cognitive processes, we have analyzed the expression of the mouse DSCAM homolog, Dscam, in the adult mouse brain from 1 through 21 months of age. We have found that Dscam is widely expressed in the brain throughout adult life, with strongest levels in the cortex, the mitral and granular layers of the olfactory bulb, the granule cells of the dentate gyrus and the pyramidal cells of the CA1, CA2 and CA3 regions, the ventroposterior lateral nuclei of the thalamus, and in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. Dscam is also expressed ventrally in the adult spinal cord. Given the homology of DSCAM to cell adhesion molecules involved in development and synaptic plasticity, and its demonstrated role in axon guidance, we propose that DSCAM overexpression contributes not only to the structural defects seen in these regions of the DS brain, but also to the defects of learning and memory seen in adults with DS.
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