Disabled-1 mRNA and protein expression in developing human cortex

Gundela Meyer, Catherine Lambert De Rouvroit, André Goffinet, Petra R. Wähle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Disabled-1 (Dab1) forms part of the Reelin-Dab1 signalling pathway that controls neuronal positioning during brain development; Dab1 deficiency gives rise to a reeler-like inversion of cortical layers. To establish a timetable of Dab1 expression in developing human brain, Dab1 mRNA and protein expression were studied in prenatal human cortex. The earliest Dab1 signal was detected at 7 gestational weeks (GW), the stage of transition from preplate to cortical plate, suggesting a role of the Reelin-Dab1 signalling pathway in preplate partition. From 12 to 20 GW, the period of maximum cortical migration, Dab1 expression was prominent in the upper tiers of the cortical plate, to decline after midgestation. Radially orientated apical dendrites of Dab1-expressing neurons indicated a predominant pyramidal phenotype. Pyramidal cells in hippocampus and entorhinal cortex displayed a more protracted time of Dab1 expression compared to neocortex. In addition, at later stages (18-25 GW), Dab1 was also expressed in large neurons scattered throughout intermediate zone and subplate. From 14 to 22 GW, particularly high levels of Dab1 mRNA and protein were observed in cells of the ventricular/subventricular zone displaying the morphology of radial glia. The partial colocalization of vimentin and Dab1 in cells of the ventricular zone supported a radial glia phenotype. The concentration of Dab1 protein in ventricular endfeet and initial portions of radial processes of ventricular-zone cells points to a possible involvement of Dab1 in neurogenesis. Furthermore, a subset of Cajal-Retzius cells in the marginal zone colocalized Dab1 and Reelin, and may thus represent a novel target of the Reelin-Dab1 signalling pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-525
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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