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Implication of Tryptophan 2,3-Dioxygenase and its Novel Variants in the Hippocampus and Cerebellum During the Developing and Adult Brain

Author(s): Masaaki Kanai | Hiroshi Funakoshi | Toshikazu Nakamura

Journal: International Journal of Tryptophan Research
ISSN 1178-6469

Volume: 2010;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 141;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) is a first and rate-limiting enzyme for the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism. Using Tdo-/-mice, we have recently shown that TDO plays a pivotal role in systemic tryptophan metabolism and brain serotonin synthesis as well as emotional status and adult neurogenesis. However, the expression of TDO in the brain has not yet been well characterized, in contrast to its predominant expression in the liver. To further examine the possible role of local TDO in the brain, we quantified the levels of tdo mRNA in various nervous tissues, using Northern blot and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Higher levels of tdo mRNA expression were detected in the cerebellum and hippocampus. We also identified two novel variants of the tdo gene, termed tdo variant1 and variant2, in the brain. Similar to the known TDO form (TDO full-form), tetramer formation and enzymatic activity were obtained when these variant forms were expressed in vitro. While quantitative real-time RT-PCR revealed that the tissue distribution of these variants was similar to that of tdo full-form, the expression patterns of these variants during early postnatal development in the hippocampus and cerebellum differed. Our findings indicate that in addition to hepatic TDO, TDO and its variants in the brain might function in the developing and adult nervous system. Given the previously reported associations of tdo gene polymorphisms in the patients with autism and Tourette syndrome, the expression of TDO in the brain suggests the possible influence of TDO on psychiatric status. Potential functions of TDOs in the cerebellum, hippocampus and cerebral cortex under physiological and pathological conditions are discussed.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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