Alpha-synuclein has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. To investigate the role of alpha-synuclein in the brain, the cDNA clone encoding the mouse cognate of the human alpha-synuclein was isolated from a mouse brain cDNA library. The open reading frame coded for 140 amino acids that share 95% identity with human alpha-synuclein. Northern blot analysis showed that alpha-synuclein mRNA was primarily expressed in brain and spleen of adult mouse. In situ hybridization histochemistry revealed the highest expression of alpha-synuclein mRNA in the hippocampal formation and neocortex of the adult mouse. alpha-Synuclein mRNA expression in the brain was first observed in the hippocampus and neocortex on postnatal day 1. Levels of alpha-synuclein mRNA in these forebrain areas were nearly maximal at postnatal day 7 and remained relatively high until the adult stage. alpha-Synuclein mRNA was expressed in the liver transiently during embryogenesis.
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