Expression of a unique 56-kDa polypeptide by neurons in the subplate zone of the developing cerebral cortex

Janice R. Naegele, Colin J. Barnstable, Petra R. Wahle

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In the mammalian cerebral cortex, neurons destined for layers 2-6 are generated only after the period of genesis for a group of transient neurons that populate the subplate and marginal zones. Although a number of molecular markers for the subplate zone exist, most are also expressed by other cell populations in the cortical plate. To begin to study molecular properties of the subplate, we generated monoclonal antibodies against homogenates of cat cortical subplate zone. One monoclonal antibody, termed subplate 1 (SP1), recognized a polypeptide of 56 kDa. This antigen was strongly expressed within the subplate neurons only during a 3-week period beginning at birth and extending until 3 weeks after birth. From postnatal day 1, the number of SP1-immunoreactive neurons below the visual cortex increased until the end of second postnatal week and then declined thereafter. This period coincides with the period when a majority of the subplate neurons undergo naturally occurring cell death. The antigen was not expressed by subplate neurons surviving in the adult white matter. At the peak of antigen expression, 14% or less of the immunoreactive neurons also coexpressed γ-amino-butyric acid, somatostatin, or neuropeptide Y. Biochemical and immunocytochemical properties of the SP1 antigen were also compared with the Alz-50 antigen (A68), a marker for dying neurons. On Western blots, SP1- and Alz-50-reactive polypeptides were selectively enriched in cytosolic fractions of kitten cerebral cortex, but each marker recognized different molecular weight polypeptides. In tissue sections many subplate, cortical plate, and layer 1 neurons were Alz-50 immunoreactive. In contrast, a rarer subpopulation of neurons restricted to the subplate was labeled by SP1. We propose that the SP1 antigen is a protein expressed within dying cortical subplate neurons, at the commencement of cell death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-334
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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