We previously isolated two novel serine/threonine kinase genes containing the LIM motif (LIMK-1 and LIMK-2) from a rat cDNA library. To examine the functions of these genes, we performed in situ hybridization in the developing rat nervous system. LIMK-1 and LIMK-2 mRNAs mostly co-localized during development and are expressed preferentially in the central nervous system during mid-to-late gestation but the signals decreased during the post-natal period. However, differential gene expression was observed in some nuclei in the CNS; LIMK-1 mRNA was intensely expressed in the facial motor nucleus, the hypoglossal nucleus, deep nuclei of the cerebellum and the layers 3, 5 and 6 of the adult cerebral cortex while only LIMK-2 mRNA was preferentially expressed in the some parts of the epithelium. In the nasal cavity, LIMK-1 and LIMK-2 mRNAs were expressed complementarily. Our results suggest that LIMK-1 and LIMK-2 may have different functions in these regions during development.
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