Open Access Research article

Homologs of genes expressed in Caenorhabditis elegans GABAergic neurons are also found in the developing mouse forebrain

Elizabeth AD Hammock12*, Kathie L Eagleson3, Susan Barlow46, Laurie R Earls47, David M Miller245 and Pat Levitt3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

2 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

3 Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

4 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232-8240, USA

5 Program in Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232-8240, USA

6 Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, One Siskin Plaza, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA

7 St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA

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Neural Development 2010, 5:32  doi:10.1186/1749-8104-5-32

Published: 1 December 2010



In an effort to identify genes that specify the mammalian forebrain, we used a comparative approach to identify mouse homologs of transcription factors expressed in developing Caenorhabditis elegans GABAergic neurons. A cell-specific microarray profiling study revealed a set of transcription factors that are highly expressed in embryonic C. elegans GABAergic neurons.


Bioinformatic analyses identified mouse protein homologs of these selected transcripts and their expression pattern was mapped in the mouse embryonic forebrain by in situ hybridization. A review of human homologs indicates several of these genes are potential candidates in neurodevelopmental disorders.


Our comparative approach has revealed several novel candidates that may serve as future targets for studies of mammalian forebrain development.