The Expression of Tubb2b Undergoes a Developmental Transition in Murine Cortical Neurons

J Comp Neurol. 2015 Oct 15;523(15):2161-86. doi: 10.1002/cne.23836. Epub 2015 Aug 11.


The development of the mammalian brain requires the generation, migration, and differentiation of neurons, cellular processes that are dependent on a dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton. Mutations in tubulin genes, which encode for the structural subunits of microtubules, cause detrimental neurological disorders known as the tubulinopathies. The disease spectra associated with different tubulin genes are overlapping but distinct, an observation believed to reflect functional specification of this multigene family. Perturbation of the β-tubulin TUBB2B is known to cause polymicrogyria, pachygyria, microcephaly, and axon guidance defects. Here we provide a detailed analysis of the expression pattern of its murine homolog Tubb2b. The generation and characterization of BAC-transgenic eGFP reporter mouse lines has revealed that it is highly expressed in progenitors and postmitotic neurons during cortical development. This contrasts with the 8-week-old cortex, in which Tubb2b expression is restricted to macroglia, and expression is almost completely absent in mature neurons. This developmental transition in neurons is mirrored in the adult hippocampus and the cerebellum but is not a universal feature of Tubb2b; its expression persists in a population of postmitotic neurons in the 8-week-old retina. We propose that the dynamic spatial and temporal expression of Tubb2b reflects specific functional requirements of the microtubule cytoskeleton.

Keywords: AB_10048713; AB_10615604; AB_2068336; AB_2088494; AB_2170714; AB_2286684; AB_2314535; AB_303395; AB_310177; AB_442102; AB_570666; AB_778267; GFP-reporter line; developing cortex; glia; microtubules; neuronal migration; tubulinopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cochlea / growth & development
  • Cochlea / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retina / growth & development
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Tubulin / genetics
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • Tubb2b protein, mouse
  • Tubulin
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins