Differential expression of distinct members of rho family GTP-binding proteins during neuronal development: Identification of RAC1B, a new neural- specific member of the family

Maria Luisa Malosio, Daniela Gilardelli, Simona Paris, Chiara Albertinazzi, Ivan De Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies on small GTP-binding proteins of the Rho family have revealed their involvement in the organization of cell actin cytoskeleton. The function of these GTPases during vertebrate development is not known. With the aim of understanding the possible role of these proteins during neuronal development, we have cloned and sequenced five members expressed in developing chick neural retinal cells. We have identified four chicken genes, cRhoA, cRhoB, cRhoC, and cRac1A, homologous to known human genes, and a novel Rac gene, cRac1B. Analysis of the distribution of four of the identified transcripts in chicken embryos shows for the first time high levels of expression of Rho family genes in the vertebrate developing nervous system, with distinct patterns of distribution for the different transcripts. In particular, cRhoA and cRac1A gene expression appeared ubiquitous in the whole embryo, and the cRhoB transcript was more prominent in populations of neurons actively extending neurites, whereas the newly identified cRac1B gene was homogeneously expressed only in the developing nervous system. Temporal analysis of the expression of the five genes suggests a correlation with the morphogenetic events occurring within the developing retina and the retinotectal pathway. Expression of an epitope-tagged cRac1B in retinal neurons showed a diffuse distribution of the protein in the cell body and along neurites. Taken as a whole, our results suggest important roles for ubiquitous and neural-specific members of the Rho family in the acquisition of the mature neuronal phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6717-6728
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume17
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Keywords

  • Chick embryo
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Neural retinal cells
  • Neuronal development
  • Retinotectal pathway
  • Rho GTPases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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