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Keywords:

  • ectopic;
  • expression pattern;
  • lacZ;
  • melanin;
  • retina;
  • telencephalon

Abstract

Tyrosinase is the rate-limiting enzyme for melanin synthesis. Its gene is expressed in two cell types: melanocytes, derived from migrating neural crest cells, and, in the CNS, retinal pigment epithelium cells, derived from the optic cup. Its absence from the eye results in profound pathway selection errors of optic fibres at the chiasm and, hence, it has been implicated as a developmental regulator of CNS pathway selection. Recently, it has been proposed that tyrosinase can also be expressed in the developing and adult brain, although the methods used were indirect. Its presence in the brain could be very significant in terms of a potentially wider role in pathway finding. Here, we have evaluated the presence of tyrosinase expression in mouse developing, perinatal and adult brain by in situ hybridization in whole-mount embryos and histological sections and by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. We find no evidence for tyrosinase gene expression in the CNS outside the retinal pigment epithelium cells.