Transiently increased colocalization of vesicular glutamate transporters 1 and 2 at single axon terminals during postnatal development of mouse neocortex: a quantitative analysis with correlation coefficient

Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Dec;26(11):3054-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05868.x.


Vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1) and VGLUT2 show complementary distribution in neocortex; VGLUT1 is expressed mainly in axon terminals of neocortical neurons, whereas VGLUT2 is located chiefly in thalamocortical axon terminals. However, we recently reported a frequent colocalization of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 at a subset of axon terminals in postnatal developing neocortex. We here quantified the frequency of colocalization between VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 immunoreactivities at single axon terminals by using the correlation coefficient (CC) as an indicator in order to determine the time course and spatial extent of the colocalization during postnatal development of mouse neocortex. The colocalization was more frequent in the primary somatosensory (S1) area than in both the primary visual (V1) and the motor areas; of area S1 cortical layers, colocalization was most evident in layer IV barrels at postnatal day (P) 7 and in adulthood. CC in layer IV showed a peak at P7 in area S1, and at P10 in area V1 though the latter peak was much smaller than the former. These results suggest that thalamocortical axon terminals contained not only VGLUT2 but also VGLUT1, especially at P7-10. Double fluorescence in situ hybridization confirmed coexpression of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 mRNAs at P7 in the somatosensory thalamic nuclei and later in the thalamic dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. As VGLUT1 is often used in axon terminals that show synaptic plasticity in adult brain, the present findings suggest that VGLUT1 is used in thalamocortical axons transiently during the postnatal period when plasticity is required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neocortex / growth & development*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1 / genetics
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / genetics
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / metabolism*


  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2