Creatine is synthesized by S-adenosylmethionine:guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT), and the creatine/phosphocreatine shuttle system mediated by creatine kinase (CK) is essential for storage and regeneration of high-energy phosphates in cells. Although the importance of this system in brain development is evidenced by the hereditary nature of creatine deficiency syndrome, the spatiotemporal cellular expression patterns of GAMT in developing brain remain unknown. Here we show that two waves of high GAMT expression occur in developing mouse brain. The first involves high expression in mitotic cells in the ventricular zone of the brain wall and the external granular layer of the cerebellum at the embryonic and neonatal stages. The second was initiated by striking up-regulation of GAMT in oligodendrocytes during the second and third postnatal weeks (i.e., the active myelination stage), which continued to adulthood. Distinct temporal patterns were also evident in other cell types. GAMT was highly expressed in perivascular pericytes and smooth muscle cells after birth, but not in adults. In neurons, GAMT levels were low to moderate in neuroblasts residing in the ventricular zone, increased during the second postnatal week when active dendritogenesis and synaptogenesis occur, and decreased to very low levels thereafter. Moderate levels were observed in astrocytes throughout development. The highly regulated, cell type-dependent expression of GAMT suggests that local creatine biosynthesis plays critical roles in certain phases of neural development. In accordance with this idea, we observed increased CK expression in differentiating neurons; this would increase creatine/phosphocreatine shuttle system activity, which might reflect increased energy demand.
- Creatine kinase
- Developing brain
- S-adenosylmethionine:guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience