Differential expression of the neuronal acetylcholine receptor alpha 2 subunit gene during chick brain development

Neuron. 1990 Jul;5(1):49-60. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(90)90032-b.


In situ hybridization histochemistry reveals localized expression of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) alpha 2 subunit mRNA restricted to the lateral spiriform nucleus (SpL) of the chick diencephalon. The alpha 2 nAChR transcripts are not detected in immature SpL neurons at 4.5-5 days of embryonic development. They begin to accumulate in the SpL at embryonic day 11 and increase until the newborn stage. Specific alpha 2 cDNA amplification by the polymerase chain reaction shows that during this period, the absolute content of alpha 2 mRNA increases about 20-fold. The expression of the alpha 2 nAChR gene is thus developmentally regulated and appears concomitant with the entry of cholinergic fibers into the SpL, as demonstrated by choline acetyltransferase immunohistochemistry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / embryology
  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Chick Embryo / physiology*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / embryology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cholinergic