The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 431 - 436 (2005)

Characterization of Hypoxia induced gene 1: expression during rat Central Nervous System maturation and evidence of antisense RNA expression

Gabriela Bedó*,1, Marcelo Vargas1, María-José Ferreiro1, Cora Chalar2 and Daniella Agrati1

1Sección Genética Evolutiva and 2Sección Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.


Although recent studies have provided a detailed understanding of cellular interactions occurring during the development of the CNS, little is known about the molecular signals which during the peri and postnatal periods ensure its maturation and functionality. Using the mammalian spinal cord as a model, we have designed experiments to examine the main changes in gene expression occurring during this critical transition. In this paper we describe the cloning and characterization of the rat hypoxia induced gene-1 (Hig-1 ), its expression pattern during spinal cord maturation and in situ localization of its mRNA. We show an increase in Hig-1 expression between P1 and P15 in the spinal cord and a differential spatial pattern. In the P1 spinal cord we observed preferential expression in regions of dorsal laminae II and III and laminae IX ventrally; while in P8, the distribution was more widespread and overall expression was increased. Hig-1 is also widely expressed in the brain. Results of in situ hybridization experiments, as well as particular features concerning ESTs, led us to propose the expression of an antisense mRNA. Primer-specific RT­PCR demonstrates the presence of this aHig-1 transcript whose structure has not yet been characterized. The high homology between putative rHig-1 protein and human- and murine-predicted sequences, as well as its characteristic expression in the Central Nervous System, are indicative of a specific role which could be related to apoptosis signaling during postnatal maturation.


Hig-1, differential gene expression, CNS, neural postnatal maturation, hypoxia

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