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Developmental expression of the tuberous sclerosis proteins tuberin and hamartin



Developmental expression of the tuberous sclerosis proteins tuberin and hamartin



Acta Neuropathologica 101(3): 202-210



Tuberous sclerosis complex is an autosomal dominant multisystem disorder, characterized by the development of hamartomas in multiple organs, primarily the skin, heart, kidney, and brain. The tuberous sclerosis genes, TSC1 and TSC2, encode hamartin and tuberin, respectively. Employing specific antibodies for hamartin and tuberin, we analyzed the expression of these two proteins by Western blot analyses in normal developing human and rat tissues. Both proteins are expressed ubiquitously in human fetal tissues and placenta, but are expressed at relatively low levels in human adult tissues, except brain. Similarly, high expression of these two proteins is observed in rat embryonic tissues, with a progressive decline after birth. To better characterize the developmental expression of tuberin and hamartin, we conducted a detailed study in rat tissues from embryonic day 13 to adult by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemical staining of rat tissues for tuberin and hamartin revealed tissue-specific expression patterns throughout development. Both tuberin and hamartin are expressed in epithelia, muscle (smooth, cardiac and skeletal muscle) and the nervous system (neurons, glia, choroid plexus and arachnoid). Except for the central nervous system, immunostaining intensity declines with age, confirming the protein blot analysis. These results indicate that tuberin and hamartin may play a critical role in development, and thus provide a framework for understanding the developmental and hamartomatous manifestations of tuberous sclerosis. These findings also suggest that tuberin and hamartin have additional functions in the adult brain, consistent with the marked neurological problems that afflict many patients with tuberous sclerosis.

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Accession: 010452398

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PMID: 11307618

DOI: 10.1007/s004010000269


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