The EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding protein super-family: a genome-wide analysis of gene expression patterns in the adult mouse brain

Neuroscience. 2015 May 21;294:116-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.02.018. Epub 2015 Mar 12.


In mice, 249 putative members of the superfamily of EF-hand domain Ca(2+)-binding proteins, manifesting great diversity in structure, cellular localization and functions have been identified. Three members in particular, namely, calbindin-D28K, calretinin and parvalbumin, are widely used as markers for specific neuronal subpopulations in different regions of the brain. The aim of the present study was to compile a comprehensive atlas of the gene-expression profiles of the entire EF-hand gene superfamily in the murine brain. This was achieved by a meticulous examination of the in-situ hybridization images in the Allen Brain Atlas database. Topographically, our analysis focused on the olfactory bulb, cerebral cortex (barrel cortex in the primary somatosensory area), basal ganglia, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, hypothalamus, cerebellum, midbrain, pons and medulla, and on clearly identifiable sub-structures within each of these areas. The expression profiles of four family-members, namely hippocalcin-like 4, neurocalcin-δ, plastin 3 and tescalcin, that have not been hitherto reported, at either the mRNA (in-situ-hybridization) or the protein (immunohistochemical) levels, are now presented for the first time. The fruit of our analysis is a document in which the gene-expression profiles of all members of the EF-hand family genes are compared, and in which future possible neuronal markers for specific cells/brain areas are identified. The assembled information could afford functional clues to investigators, conducive to further experimental pursuit.

Keywords: Allen Brain Atlas; hippocalcin-like 4; neurocalcin-δ; neuronal markers; plastin 3; tescalcin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study* / methods
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger