Expression of doublecortin (DCX) and doublecortin-like kinase (DCLK) within the developing chick brain



Doublecortin (DCX) is a microtubule-associated protein widely expressed in the developing mammalian nervous system and important for neuronal migration. DCX is known to belong to a novel protein family defined by sequence homology and the presence of a conserved microtubule-binding domain, but the functions of other members of this family are still undefined. In this study, we describe the cloning of the chick ortholog of doublecortin-like kinase (DCLK), a member of this family, and assess the expression of DCX and DCLK in the layered regions of the developing chick brain. DCX and DCLK are widely expressed in pallial and subpallial structures, including the telencephalon, optic tectum, and cerebellum, in similar distribution patterns. In addition to their expression in migrating cells, both proteins were also detected in the ventricular zone and in postmigratory Purkinje cells. Finally, DCX and DCLK were found to be coexpressed in all areas examined. In postmigratory Purkinje cells, DCX and DCLK both colocalized to the cell membrane, although DCLK was also distributed more generally throughout the cell soma. These data are consistent with multiple roles for DCX and DCLK in the developing chicken brain and suggest that the chick cerebellum will be an intriguing system to explore the effects of DCX and DCLK on postmigratory neuronal function. Developmental Dynamics 232:457–467, 2005. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.