• γ-Aminobutyric acidA receptor;
  • Polymerase chain reaction;
  • Development;
  • Differentiation;
  • Cerebellar granule cells


We have quantitated the α1, α5, γ2S, and γ2Lγ-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA) receptor subunit mRNAs in the maturing cerebellum in vivo and in cerebellar granule neurons differentiating in vitro. Absolute amounts of mRNA were measured by reverse transcription and competitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis with appropriate internal standards. The α1 and γ2L mRNA content increased continuously during postnatal cerebellar maturation and their changes with time matched very closely those of the cerebellar granule cells differentiating in vitro. The γ2S subunit mRNA showed a relatively constant pattern of expression both in vivo and in vitro, with comparable absolute concentrations in both developmental paradigms. The α5 mRNA was initially high in vivo and decreased (eightfold) to adult levels as postnatal cerebellar development progressed. In vitro the amount of α5 GABAA receptor subunit mRNA was higher than in vivo at 3 days, increased by more than twofold by 8 days, and declined to approximately the initial values at 23 and 28 days in vitro. Collectively, the results indicate that the α1, α5, γ2S, and γ2L GABAA receptor subunit mRNAs are regulated differentially in a temporal manner during in vivo and in vitro maturation. Moreover, a comparison of the ontogenetic profiles of the γ2S and γ2L mRNAs indicates that alternative splicing of the γ2 primary RNA transcript is regulated developmentally during postnatal maturation of the rat cerebellum.