Bex proteins are expressed from a family of "brain expressed X-linked genes" that are closely linked on the X-chromosome. Bex1 and 2 have been characterized as interacting partners of the olfactory marker protein (OMP). Here we report the distribution of Bex1 and Bex2 mRNAs in several brain regions and the development and characterization of an antibody to mouse Bex1 protein that cross-reacts with Bex2 (but not Bex3), and its use to determine the cellular distribution of Bex proteins in the murine brain. The specificity of the antiserum was characterized by immunoprecipitation and Western blots of tissue and transfected cell extracts and by immunocytochemical analyses of cells transfected with either Bex1 or Bex2. Antibodies preabsorbed with Bex2 still recognize Bex1, while blocking with Bex1 eliminates all immunoreactivity to both Bex1 and Bex2. Bex immunoreactivity (ir) was primarily localized to neuronal cells within several regions of the brain, including the olfactory epithelium, bulb, peri/paraventricular nuclei, suprachiasmatic nucleus, arcuate nucleus, median eminence, lateral hypothalamic area, thalamus, hippocampus, and cerebellum. RT-PCR and in situ hybridization demonstrated the presence of Bex mRNA in several of these regions. Double-label immunocytochemistry indicates that Bex-ir is colocalized with OMP in mature olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) and in the OMP-positive subpopulation of neurons in hypothalamus. This is the first anatomical mapping of Bex proteins in the mouse brain and their colocalization with OMP in ORNs and hypothalamus.
(c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.