The treasury of the commons: making use of public gene expression resources to better characterize the molecular diversity of inhibitory interneurons in the cerebellar cortex

Cerebellum. 2009 Dec;8(4):477-89. doi: 10.1007/s12311-009-0124-6. Epub 2009 Jun 25.


We mined the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas for genes expressed in cerebellar cortical inhibitory interneurons that would allow identification and possibly distinction of these cells. We identified some 90 genes that are highly expressed in specific subsets of cerebellar cortical inhibitory interneurons or various combinations thereof. Four genes are exclusively expressed, within the cerebellar cortex, in molecular layer interneurons, and ten genes label exclusively inhibitory interneurons in the granule cell layer or subsets thereof. Differential expression of many of these genes in cells residing in the lower versus the upper molecular layer provides evidence that these cells, traditionally referred to as basket and stellate cells, are indeed molecularly distinct. Two genes could be identified as novel markers for unipolar brush cells. Intersection of these data with embryonic expression patterns as documented in the genepaint repository does not support a hierarchical model of cerebellar interneuron development, but may be more easily reconciled with the view that cerebellar inhibitory interneurons derive from a common precursor pool from which they are specified only late into their development. The novel markers identified here should prove useful for probing the timing and mechanisms supporting cerebellar cortical interneuron specification and diversification.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism


  • Biomarkers