The Role of BASP1 in Neural Development
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BASP1 (brain acid soluble protein 1) is highly expressed in the nervous system throughout development. While its roles at the neuromuscular junction and in certain non-neuronal tissues have been previously characterized, its function in the neural tube is still unclear. Using the chicken (Gallus gallus) as a model, I show that BASP1 is expressed in the neural tube exclusively in differentiated neurons, in contrast with previous expression data. Using gain- and loss- of function approaches, BASP1 overexpression was shown to cause the ectopic placement of neural progenitor cells. These ectopic cells were found in the neural tube marginal zone, normally the site of only differentiated neurons. This indicates a possible role for BASP1 in eliminating apical cell polarity in progenitor cells, in opposition to the role of the protein MARCKS. I also demonstrated that BASP1 knockdown by dsRNA-mediated interference led to a transient decrease in axonal complexity of hindbrain neurons.