The adult cerebellum is organized into longitudinal compartments that are revealed by specific axonal projections (olivocerebellar and corticonuclear projections). These compartments in the adult cerebellum are closely correlated with the striped expression of zebrin II (aldolase C), a late-onset marker of Purkinje cells. Similarly, the embryonic cerebellum is organized into longitudinal compartments that are revealed by striped expression of other genes (early-onset markers). The cerebellar compartments are thought to be the basic and functional subdivisions of the cerebellum. However, the relationship between the embryonic (early-onset) and the adult (late-onset) compartments has remained unknown, because the pattern of the embryonic compartments is distinct from that of the adult compartments. To examine this issue, we labeled Purkinje cells (PCs) born at embryonic day (E) 10.5, E11.5, and E12.5 by using an adenoviral vector and traced their fated positions in the adult cerebellum. By comparing the striped distribution of each cohort of birth date-related PCs with the striped pattern of zebrin II immunoreactivity (zebrin II bands) in the entire adult cerebellum, we found that the striped distribution of PCs correlated strikingly with zebrin II bands. Generally, a single early-onset compartment was transformed directly into a single late-onset compartment. Therefore, our observation also indicated the close correlation between the compartments formed by birth date-related PCs and olivocerebellar projections. Furthermore, we found that the cerebellum was composed of three units showing lateral-to-medial developmental gradients, as revealed by the birth dates of PCs. The results suggest that PC birth dates play an important role in organizing cerebellar compartmentalization.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.