Gene expression of the axonal growth-associated protein, GAP-43, has been studied in the adult rat brain by in situ hybridization histochemistry. This protein is synthesized at high levels in neuronal somata in immature and regenerating neurons, but after establishment of mature synaptic relations its synthesis generally declines sharply, thus providing a marker denoting propensity for exhibiting synaptic plasticity. Detailed examination of the distribution of mRNA for GAP-43 in rat hippocampus is selectively and robustly expressed in the pyramidal neurons of field CA3 and, to a lesser extent, the polymorph neurons of the hilus of the dentate hyrus. Additional hippocampal regions of moderate expression include the tenia tecta and the subicular and entorhinal fields, but CA1 and CA2 are strikingly lower in signal. The significance of this pattern of localization is considered in the context of the phosphorylation of GAP-43 and its role in influencing synaptic events underlying the establishment and maintenance of long-term potentiation and plasticity in the hippocampus.
- Axonal growth
- In situ hybridization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience