Molecular cloning of Bral2, a novel brain-specific link protein, and immunohistochemical colocalization with brevican in perineuronal nets

Yoko Bekku, Wei-Dong Su, Satoshi Hirakawa, Reinhard Fässler, Aiji Ohtsuka, Jeong Suk Kang, Jennifer Sanders, Takuro Murakami, Yoshifumi Ninomiya, Toshitaka Oohashi
Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences 2003, 24 (1): 148-59
The hyaluronan binding chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, called lecticans, are the abundant extracellular matrix molecules in the developing and/or adult brain. The link proteins (LPs) are also known to be coordinately present in brain. We report here the molecular cloning and expression analysis of a novel member of LPs: Bral2, predominantly expressed in brain. The Bral2 mRNA expression is first detected at P20 and continued through adulthood, suggesting its functional importance and association with adult-type lecticans. The substantial immunoreactivity of Bral2 is found in several nuclei throughout the midbrain and hindbrain in a perineuronal net pattern. In situ hybridization revealed that Bral2 is synthesized by these neurons themselves, especially by the GABAergic neurons in the cerebellar cortex. Interestingly, the colocalization and synergic importance of Bral2 and brevican in the perineuronal nets is indicated by the comparative immunohistochemical analysis using wild-type and brevican-deficient mouse brain. Our results suggest that Bral2 is involved in the formation of extracellular matrix contributing to perineuronal nets and facilitate the understanding of a functional role of these extracellular matrices.

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