Synaptopodin is an actin-binding protein of renal podocytes and dendritic spines. We have recently shown that synaptopodin is localized to the spine apparatus, a characteristic organelle of dendritic spines on forebrain neurons. Synaptopodin-deficient mice do not form spine apparatuses, indicating a role of synaptopodin in the formation of this organelle. Here we studied the development of synaptopodin expression in the postnatal rat hippocampus. At birth, synaptopodin mRNA is mainly expressed in CA3 pyramidal neurons. At postnatal day (P) 6, synaptopodin mRNA expression is still strongest in CA3 but is now also found in CA1 pyramidal neurons and granule cells of the suprapyramidal blade of the dentate gyrus. At P9, an almost adult pattern is seen with synaptopodin mRNA expressed by virtually all principal neurons. While synaptopodin mRNA was restricted to cell somata, immunostaining for synaptopodin protein labeled dendritic layers. At birth, no immunoreactivity was visible, while at P5 a weak staining mainly in stratum oriens was observed. At P9, immunolabeling was still strongest in stratum oriens followed by the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. The adult pattern with strong labeling of all dendritic layers was reached by P12. Together these findings show that synaptopodin expression follows the well-known sequence of hippocampal principal neuron development. Unexpectedly, we also observed synaptopodin mRNA expression in a small population of interneurons as revealed by double labeling with interneuron markers. However, no immunolabeling for synaptopodin was observed in identified interneurons, confirming that the protein is mainly present in spine-bearing principal cells.
(c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.