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Keywords:

  • Notch, Jagged;
  • Delta;
  • Delta-like;
  • ligand;
  • ontogeny;
  • stem cell;
  • progenitor;
  • gliogenesis;
  • bHLH;
  • neuron

Abstract

The Notch-DSL signaling system, consisting of multiple receptors and ligands, inhibits neurogenesis and promotes gliogenesis during embryonic development, but the specific function of the various ligands and receptors at later developmental stages are unknown. Here, we examined the expression pattern of four Delta, Serrate and Lag-2 (DSL) ligands, Jagged1, Jagged2, Delta-like1 (Dl1) and Delta-like 3 (Dl3), in late embryonic and postnatal rat brain by in situ hybridization. In late embryos, Jagged1, Dl1 and Dl3 mRNAs were present in the periventricular germinal epithelia, but this expression diminished during postnatal ages. Jagged1 mRNA was also expressed in the inner aspect of the dentate gyrus at early postnatal times. Dl3 was detectable in the external granule cell layer (EGL) of the cerebellum, another site of postnatal neurogenesis. Jagged2 mRNA was expressed in virtually all postnatal neurons. Jagged1 mRNA was highly expressed in several brain nuclei during postnatal development, with lower levels of expression in other grey matter regions. In white matter, Dl1 and Dl3 mRNAs were expressed during the first week of postnatal development but only the expression of Dl1 mRNA persisted through the second week. Dl1 mRNA was present at lower levels throughout grey matter during the first few weeks of development. Jagged1 mRNA was expressed in blood vessels, choroid plexus, and menninges throughout development and in the adult. Jagged2 mRNA was transiently expressed in cerebral blood vessels and choroid plexus during the first postnatal week. Taken together, these results support multiple and differing roles for the various ligands during and after central nervous system (CNS) development. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.