Diverse Expression of β1,4-N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferase Gene in the Adult Mouse Brain


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. K. Furukawa at Department of Oncology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852, Japan.


Abstract: Among various tissues of mouse, β1,4-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (GM2/GD2 synthase) gene is expressed predominantly in the brain. Further analysis of the gene expression in the mouse CNS was performed by northern blotting and by enzyme assays using extracts from various parts of the CNS. In situ hybridization was also done to investigate the distribution of cells generating GM2/GD2 synthase. In northern blots, diverse levels of the gene expression were observed, depending on the regions examined. By in situ hybridization, pyramidal cells in the hippocampus, granular cells in dentate gyrus and cerebral cortex, Purkinje cells in cerebellum, and mitral cells in the olfactory bulb expressed high levels of the mRNA; these results corresponded to the results obtained by northern blot. Enzyme levels in these sites were accordingly high. However, enzyme levels in certain areas with low mRNA intensities, such as thalamus and pons medulla, were higher than expected from the results of northern blotting. The significance of the high gene expression in certain areas for brain function and the reason for the discrepancy between mRNA level and enzyme activity in some regions are discussed.