Dynamic rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton impacts many cellular characteristics in both the developing and adult central nervous systems (CNS), including the migration and adhesion of highly motile neural progenitor cells, axon guidance of immature neurons, and reconstruction of synaptic structures in the adult brain. Inka1, a known regulator of actin cytoskeleton reconstruction, is predominantly expressed by the neural crest cell lineage and regulates the migration and differentiation of these cells. In the present study, we identified a novel gene, designated as inka2, which is related to inka1. Inka2/fam212b is an evolutionarily conserved gene found in different vertebrate species and constitutes a novel gene family together with inka1. Northern blot analysis showed that inka2 mRNA was highly enriched in the nervous system. The spatiotemporal propagation cell profiles of those cells that expressed inka2 transcripts were compatible with those of Olig2-positive oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, which originate in the ventral ventricular zone during embryogenesis. Intense expression of inka2 was also noted in the proliferative neuronal progenitors in the developing cerebellum. On the other hand, immature newborn neurons in the embryonic brain showed no expression of inka2, except for the cells residing in the marginal zone of the embryonic telencephalon, which is known to contain transient cells including the non-subplate pioneer neurons and Cajal-Retzius cells. As brain development proceeds during the postnatal stage, inka2 expression emerged in some populations of immature neurons, including the neocortical pyramidal neurons, hippocampal pyramidal neurons, and granule cells migrating in the cerebellar cortex. In the adult brain, the expression of inka2 was interestingly confined in terminally differentiated neurons in the restricted forebrain regions. Taken together, as a novel regulator of actin cytoskeletons in the CNS, inka2 may be involved in multiple actin-driven processes, including cell migration and establishment of neuronal polarity.
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