The subventricular zone represents an important reservoir of progenitor cells in the adult brain. Cells from the subventricular zone migrate along the rostral migratory stream and reach the olfactory bulb, where they originate different types of interneurons. In this work, we have analyzed the role of the small GTPase RhoE/Rnd3 in subventricular zone cell development using mice-lacking RhoE expression. Our results show that RhoE null mice display a remarkable postnatal broadening of the subventricular zone and caudal rostral migratory stream. This broadening was caused by an increase in progenitor proliferation, observed in the second postnatal week but not before, and by an altered migration of the cells, which appeared in disorganized cell arrangements that impaired the appropriate contact between cells in the rostral migratory stream. In addition, the thickness of the granule cell layer in the olfactory bulb was reduced, although the density of granule cells did not differ between wild-type and RhoE null mice. Finally, the lack of RhoE expression affected the olfactory glomeruli inducing a severe reduction of calbindin-expressing interneurons in the periglomerular layer. This was already evident in the newborns and even more pronounced 15 days later when RhoE null mice displayed 89% less cells than control mice. Our results indicate that RhoE has pleiotropic functions on subventricular cells because of its role in proliferation and tangential migration, affecting mainly the development of calbindin-expressing cells in the olfactory bulb.
Keywords: Calbindin; Proliferation; RhoE; Rnd proteins; Rostral migratory stream; Subventricular zone.