Neurons with similar functions including neuronal connectivity and gene expression form discrete condensed structures within the vertebrate brain. This is exemplified within the circuitry formed by the cortical layers and the neuronal nuclei. It is well known that the Reelin protein is required for development of these neuronal structures in rodents and human, but the function of Reelin remains controversial. In this report, we used "layer-specific markers" of the cerebral cortex to carry out detailed observations of spatial distribution of the neuronal subpopulations in the brain of the Reelin deficient mouse, reeler. We observed a spatially dispersed expression of the markers in the reeler cerebral cortex. These markers are expressed also in other laminated and non-laminated structures of brain, in which we observed similar abnormal gene expression. Our observations suggest that neurons within the brain structures (such as the layers and the nuclei), which normally exhibit condensed distribution of marker expressions, loosen their segregation or scatter by a lack of Reelin.
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