Nucleus- and cell-specific gene expression in monkey thalamus

Karl D Murray, Prabhakara V Choudary, Edward G. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Nuclei of the mammalian thalamus are aggregations of neurons with unique architectures and input-output connections, yet the molecular determinants of their organizational specificity remain unknown. By comparing expression profiles of thalamus and cerebral cortex in adult rhesus monkeys, we identified transcripts that are unique to dorsal thalamus or to individual nuclei within it. Real-time quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization analyses confirmed the findings. Expression profiling of individual nuclei microdissected from the dorsal thalamus revealed additional subsets of nucleus-specific genes. Functional annotation using Gene Ontology (GO) vocabulary and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis revealed overrepresentation of GO categories related to development, morphogenesis, cell-cell interactions, and extracellular matrix within the thalamus- and nucleus-specific genes, many involved in the Wnt signaling pathway. Examples included the transcription factor TCF7L2, localized exclusively to excitatory neurons; a calmodulin-binding protein PCP4; the bone extracellular matrix molecules SPP1 and SPARC; and other genes involved in axon outgrowth and cell matrix interactions. Other nucleus-specific genes such as CBLN1 are involved in synaptogenesis. The genes identified likely underlie nuclear specification, cell phenotype, and connectivity during development and their maintenance in the adult thalamus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1989-1994
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 6 2007


  • Development
  • Excitatory neurons
  • Inhibitory neurons
  • Thalamocortical
  • Wnt signaling pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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