Differential sensitivity of skeletal and fusimotor neurons to Bcl-2-mediated apoptosis during neuromuscular development

K. Hui, J. Kucera, J. T. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Proper development of the nervous system requires that a carefully controlled balance be maintained between both proliferation and neuronal survival. The process of programmed cell death is believed to play a key role in regulating levels of neuronal survival, in large part through the action of antiapoptotic proteins, such as Bcl-2. Consistent with this, Bcl-2 has been shown to be a key regulator of apoptotic signaling in post-mitotic neurons. However, we still know remarkably little regarding the role that Bcl-2 plays in regulating the survival of specific motor neuron populations. In the present study, we have examined somatic motor neurons of the lumbar spinal cord, and branchiomotor neurons of the facial nucleus in bcl-2-null mice to determine the differential dependence among motor neuron populations with respect to Bcl-2-mediated survival. Examination of neuronal and axon number, axonal area, and the distribution of axonal loss in bcl-2-null mice demonstrates that, in contrast to the great majority of alpha motor neurons, gamma motor neurons exhibit a unique dependence upon bcl-2 for survival. These results demonstrate, for the first time, the connection between Bcl-2 expression, motor neuron survival, and the establishment of different motor populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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