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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

The temporal and spatial expression pattern of the LGI1 epilepsy predisposition gene during mouse embryonic cranial development

Jeane Silva1, Guanghu Wang2 and John K Cowell1*

Author affiliations

1 GHSU Cancer Center, School of Medicine, Georgia Health Sciences University, 1120 15th Street, Augusta 30912, USA

2 Department of Neurology, Institute of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, School of Medicine, Georgia Health Sciences University, 1120 15th Street, Augusta 30912, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-43

Published: 13 May 2011



Mutations in the LGI1 gene predispose to a rare, hereditary form of temporal epilepsy. Currently, little is known about the temporal and spatial expression pattern of Lgi1 during normal embryogenesis and so to define this more clearly we used a transgenic mouse line that expresses GFP under the control of Lgi1 cis-regulatory elements.


During embryonic brain growth, high levels of Lgi1 expression were found in the surface ectoderm, the neuroepithelium, mesenchymal connective tissue, hippocampus, and sensory organs, such as eye, tongue, and the olfactory bulb. Lgi1 was also found in the cranial nerve nuclei and ganglia, such as vestibular, trigeminal, and dorsal ganglia. Expression of Lgi1 followed an orchestrated pattern during mouse development becoming more subdued in areas of the neocortex of the mid- and hind-brain in early postnatal animals, although high expression levels were retained in the choroid plexus and hippocampus. In late postnatal stages, Lgi1 expression continued to be detected in many areas in the brain including, hippocampus, paraventricular thalamic nuclei, inferior colliculus, and the cerebral aqueduct. We also showed that Lgi1-expressing cells co-express nestin, DCX, and beta-III tubulin suggesting that Lgi1-expressing cells are migratory neuroblasts.


These observations imply that Lgi1 may have a role in establishing normal brain architecture and neuronal functions during brain development suggesting that it may be involved in neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity, which become more specifically defined in the adult animal.