Temporal and spatial patterns of expression of p35, a regulatory subunit of cyclin-dependent kinase 5, in the nervous system of the mouse
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The protein p35 is a regulatory subunit of cyclin-dependent kinase 5. It has no recognized homology to cyclins but binds to and activates cyclin-dependent kinase 5 directly in the absence of other protein molecules. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 was initially isolated by homology to the key cell cycle regulator cdc2 kinase and later identified as a neuronal kinase that phosphorylates histone H1, tau or neurofilaments. This kinase is localized in axons of the developing and mature nervous system. To understand the role of p35 as a regulator of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 activity in the CNS, we examined the pattern of expression of p35 mRNA in the nervous system of embryonic, early postnatal and adult mice. In separate experiments, we also examined the spatial distribution of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 mRNA and the activity of cyclin-dependent kinase 5/p35 kinase complex. Postmitotic cells express p35 mRNA immediately after they leave the zones of cell proliferation. It is also expressed in developing axonal tracts in the brain. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 mRNA is present in postmitotic and in proliferative cells throughout the embryonic central nervous system. During early postnatal period signal for p35 mRNA declines while that for cyclin-dependent kinase 5 mRNA increases throughout the brain. In the adult brain although both p35 and cyclin-dependent kinase 5 mRNAs are expressed at relatively high levels in certain structures associated with the limbic system, considerable differences exist in the patterns of their distribution in other parts of the brain. These data suggest that the p35/cyclin-dependent kinase 5 complex may be associated with early events of neuronal development such as neuronal migration and axonal growth while in the limbic system of the mature brain it may be associated with the maintenance of neuronal plasticity.
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