European Journal of Neuroscience vol:19 issue:8 pages:2345-2351
The functional properties and anatomical organization of the mammalian visual cortex are immature at birth and develop gradually during the first postnatal weeks. There is a 'critical period' where the cortex is plastic and susceptible to changes in visual input. Knowledge of proteins with a high expression during this period has great importance for the understanding of activity-driven maturation of the brain. The collapsin response mediator protein family consists of five cytosolic phosphoproteins (CRMP1-5) that are involved in neuronal differentiation during the development of the nervous system. They have been implicated in axon guidance and growth cone collapse through their action in the signalling pathway of collapsin/semaphorin. We examined the distribution of the CRMPs throughout the visual cortex of kitten and adult cat by in situ hybridization. While CRMP3 could not be detected in cat forebrain, the other CRMPs showed a higher expression in the immature brain compared to the adult state. Western blotting allowed the quantification of the observed age-dependent differences in the expression of CRMP2, 4 and 5. Moreover, for CRMP2 and 5 we observed a number of development-dependent post-translational modifications. We thus conclude that CRMPs might be important during the normal postnatal development of the visual cortex possibly for the fine-tuning of the specific connections in the brain.