Expression patterns of Pax6 and Pax7 in the adult brain of a urodele amphibian, Pleurodeles waltl



Expression patterns of Pax6, Pax7, and, to a lesser extent, Pax3 genes were analyzed by a combination of immunohistochemical techniques in the central nervous system of adult specimens of the urodele amphibian Pleurodeles waltl. Only Pax6 was found in the telencephalon, specifically the olfactory bulbs, striatum, septum, and lateral and central parts of the amygdala. In the diencephalon, Pax6 and Pax7 were distinct in the alar and basal parts, respectively, of prosomere 3. The distribution of Pax6, Pax7, and Pax3 cells correlated with the three pretectal domains. Pax7 specifically labeled cells in the dorsal mesencephalon, mainly in the optic tectum, and Pax6 cells were the only cells found in the tegmentum. Large populations of Pax7 cells occupied the rostral rhombencephalon, along with lower numbers of Pax6 and Pax3 cells. Pax6 was found in most granule cells of the cerebellum. Pax6 cells also formed a column of scattered neurons in the reticular formation and were found in the octavolateral area. The rhombencephalic ventricular zone of the alar plate expressed Pax7. Dorsal Pax7 cells and ventral Pax6 cells were found along the spinal cord. Our results show that the expression of Pax6 and Pax7 is widely maintained in the brains of adult urodeles, in contrast to the situation in other tetrapods. This discrepancy could be due to the generally pedomorphic features of urodele brains. Although the precise role of these transcription factors in adult brains remains to be determined, our findings support the idea that they may also function in adult urodeles. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:2088–2124, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.