Phospholipase C-β1 expression correlates with neuronal differentiation and synaptic plasticity in rat somatosensory cortex

Anthony J. Hannan*, Peter C. Kind, Colin Blakemore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)


Receptor-mediated signal transduction is thought to play an important role in neuronal differentiation and the modification of synaptic connections during brain development. The intracellular signalling molecule phospholipase C-β1 (PLC-β1), which is activated via specific neurotransmitter receptors, has recently been implicated in activity-dependent plasticity in the cat visual cortex. PLC-β1 has been shown to be concentrated in an intermediate compartment-like organelle, the botrysome, which is present in 5-week-old, but not adult, cat cortical neurons. We have characterized the spatial and temporal regulation of PLC-β1 expression in the developing rat cerebral cortex. PLC-β1-positive botrysome-like organelles are observed during early postnatal cortical development, but not at postnatal day 14 or later stages. In the postnatal somatosensory cortex, there is also striking spatial variation in diffuse neuropilar immunoreactivity of layer IV and above, in a pattern corresponding to the thalamocortical recipient zones known as barrels. This expression pattern is specific to the developing barrel field and is most distinct at postnatal days 4-7, when cellular components of barrels are capable of activity-dependent modification. During later stages of cortical maturation, stained botrysomes disappear, expression of PLC-β1 is down-regulated and only diffuse immunoreactivity remains in dendritic processes. Our results are consistent with a role for PLC-β1 in activity-dependent, receptor-mediated neuronal plasticity during development of the somatosensory cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-605
Number of pages13
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Barrels
  • Botrysome
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Development
  • Phospholipase C
  • Synaptic plasticity

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