EphrinA5 protein distribution in the developing mouse brain

BMC Neurosci. 2010 Aug 25;11:105. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-11-105.


Background: EphrinA5 is one of the best-studied members of the Eph-ephrin family of guidance molecules, known to be involved in brain developmental processes. Using in situ hybridization, ephrinA5 mRNA expression has been detected in the retinotectal, the thalamocortical, and the olfactory systems; however, no study focused on the distribution of the protein. Considering that this membrane-anchored molecule may act far from the neuron soma expressing the transcript, it is of a crucial interest to localize ephrinA5 protein to better understand its function.

Results: Using immunohistochemistry, we found that ephrinA5 protein is highly expressed in the developing mouse brain from E12.5 to E16.5. The olfactory bulb, the cortex, the striatum, the thalamus, and the colliculi showed high intensity of labelling, suggesting its implication in topographic mapping of olfactory, retinocollicular, thalamocortical, corticothalamic and mesostriatal systems. In the olfactory nerve, we found an early ephrinA5 protein expression at E12.5 suggesting its implication in the guidance of primary olfactory neurons into the olfactory bulb. In the thalamus, we detected a dynamic graduated protein expression, suggesting its role in the corticothalamic patterning, whereas ephrinA5 protein expression in the target region of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurones indicated its involvement in the mesostriatal topographic mapping. Following E16.5, the signal faded gradually and was barely detectable at P0, suggesting a main role for ephrinA5 in primary molecular events in topographic map formation.

Conclusion: Our work shows that ephrinA5 protein is expressed in restrictive regions of the developing mouse brain. This expression pattern points out the potential sites of action of this molecule in the olfactory, retinotectal, thalamocortical, corticothalamic and mesostriatal systems, during development. This study is essential to better understand the role of ephrinA5 during developmental topographic mapping of connections and to further characterise the mechanisms involved in pathway restoration following cell transplantation in the damaged brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antibodies
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Ephrin-A5 / metabolism*
  • Genotype
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Olfactory Nerve / growth & development
  • Olfactory Nerve / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Smell
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Antibodies
  • Ephrin-A5
  • RNA, Messenger