Developmental and environmental changes in GAP-43 gene expression in cat visual cortex

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1993 Nov;20(3):254-8. doi: 10.1016/0169-328x(93)90048-t.


Northern/slot blot analysis was used to determine postnatal developmental and environmentally induced changes in the level of expression of GAP-43 mRNA in visual and frontal cortex. Both structures showed a precipitous decline during the first 5 weeks and a slight further decline to adult levels. Dark rearing resulted in a significant elevation of GAP-43 mRNA which was eliminated by brief visual experience. This effect was specific to visual cortex and did not occur in frontal cortex. The effect also did not occur in normal adult cats placed in prolonged darkness, indicating that GAP-43 mRNA levels are not simply activity dependent and are altered by visual input only during early postnatal life. These results are consistent with a role for GAP-43 in the state of visual cortical plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cats
  • Darkness
  • GAP-43 Protein
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / radiation effects
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Photic Stimulation
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*


  • GAP-43 Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger