The central expression of Krox-20, a C2H2-type zinc-finger transcription factor and immediate early gene, is primarily studied in the young embryo, where it contributes to rhombomere (r) r3 and r5 development. Data regarding the cellular localization and developmental regulation of Krox-20 protein expression in brainstem neurons are lacking. Our interest in brainstem development, coupled with findings from our lab and others that demonstrate a profound impact of a Krox-20 null mutation on brainstem-mediated behaviors, led us to investigate the spatiotemporal expression of Krox-20 protein in brainstem and cerebellar neurons to gain insight into potential cellular targets of the mutation. Understanding the cellular localization of Krox-20 is important in light of studies showing the impact of immediate early gene expression on neuronal function. Krox-20 immunohistochemistry experiments were conducted on animals at embryonic days (E) 17.0 and 18.5 and postnatal days (P) 0-1, 3-4, 7, 14, 22, and adulthood. Krox-20 expression is developmentally regulated in motoneurons, somatosensory-related neurons, Purkinje cells, and components of auditory circuitry. Neurons in the ventral cochlear nucleus and inferior colliculus show a sustained Krox-20 expression. Ultrastructural data demonstrate Krox-20 expression in somata and dendrites of central neurons. Our identification of Krox-20 expressing neurons provides us a better understanding of the behavioral consequences of the mutation. Furthermore, our results suggest that Krox-20 protein has a role in the maturation of particular brainstem and cerebellar neurons and fluctuations in Krox-20 protein expression coincide with the development of circuitry underlying brainstem-mediated behaviors.
- Immediate early gene
- Purkinje cells
- Transcription factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience