Developmental expression of the neuroligins and neurexins in fragile X mice

Jonathan K.Y. Lai, Laurie C. Doering, Jane A. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Neuroligins and neurexins are transsynaptic proteins involved in the maturation of glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. Research has identified synaptic proteins and function as primary contributors to the development of fragile X syndrome. Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), the protein that is lacking in fragile X syndrome, binds neuroligin-1 and -3 mRNA. Using in situ hybridization, we examined temporal and spatial expression patterns of neuroligin (NLGN) and neurexin (NRXN) mRNAs in the somatosensory (S1) cortex and hippocampus in wild-type (WT) and fragile X knockout (FMR1-KO) mice during the first 5 weeks of postnatal life. Genotype-based differences in expression included increased NLGN1 mRNA in CA1 and S1 cortex, decreased NLGN2 mRNA in CA1 and dentate gyrus (DG) regions of the hippocampus, and increased NRXN3 mRNA in CA1, DG, and S1 cortex between female WT and FMR1-KO mice. In male mice, decreased expression of NRXN3 mRNA was observed in CA1 and DG regions of FMR1-KO mice. Sex differences in hippocampal expression of NLGN2, NRXN1, NRXN2, and NRXN3 mRNAs and in S1 cortex expression of NRXN3 mRNAs were observed WT mice, whereas sex differences in NLGN3, NRXN1, NRXN2, and NRXN3 mRNA expression in the hippocampus and in NLGN1, NRXN2 and NRXN3 mRNA expression in S1 cortex were detected in FMR1-KO mice. These results provide a neuroanatomical map of NLGN and NRXN expression patterns over postnatal development in WT and FMR1-KO mice. The differences in developmental trajectory of these synaptic proteins could contribute to long-term differences in CNS wiring and synaptic function. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:807-828, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-828
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Gene-gene interactions
  • Hippocampus
  • In situ hybridization
  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Synaptic adhesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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