Author(s): Salinas PC, Fletcher C, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Nusse R
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Wnt genes encode secreted proteins implicated in cell fate changes during development. To define specific cell populations in which Wnt genes act, we have examined Wnt expression in the cerebellum. This part of the brain has a relatively simple structure and contains well-characterized cell populations. We found that Wnt-3 is expressed during development of the cerebellum and that expression is restricted to the Purkinje cell layer in the adult. Wnt-3 expression in Purkinje cells increases postnatally as granule cells start to make contacts with Purkinje cells. To investigate whether interactions with granule cells influence Wnt-3 expression in Purkinje cells, we examined gene expression in several mouse mutants, using the expression of En-2 to follow the fate of granule cells. In the weaver mutant, in which granule cells fail to migrate and subsequently die in the external granular layer, Wnt-3 expression was normal at postnatal day 15 (P15). At that time, some granule cells are still present in the external granular layer. At P28, however, when granule cells could no longer be detected, Wnt-3 expression was almost absent. In the meander tail mutant, in which the anterior cerebellar lobes lack granule cells, Wnt-3 expression was only detected in the normal posterior lobes. Since En genes are implicated in cell-cell interactions mediated by Wnt genes, we examined En-2/En-2 mutant mice, finding normal Wnt-3 expression, indicating that the effect of granule cells on the maintenance of Wnt-3 is not mediated by En-2. Our results show that Wnt-3 expression in Purkinje cells is modulated by their presynaptic granule cells at the time of neuronal maturation.
This article was published in Development
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology