The A-subclass of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters is a highly conserved superfamily of potent lipid transporters. Although the ABCA1-like subgroup of ABCA1-4, and A7 have been shown to mediate the transport of endogenous lipids, the roles of the ABCA6-like subgroup transporters, which have been identified as a unique gene cluster on human chromosome 17q24 (ABCA5, A6, A8, A9, and A10) and mouse chromosome 11 (Abca5, a6, a8a, a8b, and a9), remains largely unknown. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the spatial and temporal expression profiles of Abca6-like subgroup transporters in embryonic and postnatal mouse brains by a combination of in situ hybridization and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using magnetically isolated brain vascular endothelial cells. In embryonic brains, the transcripts of Abca5, a8a and a8b were detected predominantly in the mantle zone, where postmitotic neurons differentiate. At the postnatal stages, they were expressed in various nuclei and neuronal layers. Abca9 mRNA was detected diffusely in the embryonic and postnatal brains and sequential and/or strong spotted signals were detected in the leptomeninges on the brain surface. PCR detected expression of Abca8a and Abca9 mRNAs in isolated vascular endothelial cells. Expression signals for Abca6 mRNA were hardly observed at any stages examined. These distinct spatio-temporal expression patterns of Abca6-like subgroup transporters may reflect their functional significance and diversity to regulate lipid transport, particularly in neurons, leptomeningeal cells, and vascular endothelial cells.
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