By reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Southern blot analysis, direct sequencing, and immunohistochemistry, we studied the expression of cholinergic neuronal markers (choline acetyltransferase [ChAT], vesicular acetylcholine transporter [VAChT], and a high-affinity choline transporter [CHT1]), and gene regulatory molecules (repressor element-1 silencing transcription factor/neuron-restrictive silencer factor [REST/NRSF] and CoREST) in the human spinal cord and term placenta, both of which are well known to contain cells synthesizing acetylcholine. H-type, M-type, N2-type, and R-type ChAT mRNAs, VAChT mRNA, and CHT1 mRNA were detected in the spinal cord, but only H-type, M-type, and N2-type ChAT mRNAs, in the term placenta. REST/NRSF and CoREST were detected in the spinal cord and the placenta, but the amounts of both mRNAs were greater in the placenta than in the spinal cord. Further microdissection analyses revealed that the placental trophoblastic cells contained more REST/NRSF and CoREST transcripts than the spinal large motor neurons. Large motor neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord were immunohistochemically stained for ChAT and VAChT. In the placenta, stromal fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and trophoblastic cells of the chorionic villi were positively stained with anti-ChAT antibody but not with anti-VAChT antibody. These findings suggest that transcriptions of the R-type ChAT and VAChT mRNAs are coordinately suppressed in the human term placenta, which might be regulated in part by a REST/NRSF complex that binds to a consensus sequence of repressor element 1/neuron-restrictive silencer element (RE1/NRSE) in the 5′ region upstream from exon R, whereas transcriptions of the H-type, M-type, and N2-type ChAT mRNAs might be independent of control by RE1/NRSE. It is possible that at least two separate regulatory mechanisms of gene expression are present for the human cholinergic gene locus, which might be selected by different combinations of DNA motifs and binding proteins to function in neuronal and non-neuronal cells.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2004 Sep 8|
- choline acetyltransferase
- repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor/neuron-restrictive silencer factor
- repressor element 1/neuron-restrictive silencer element
- vesicular acetylcholine transporter
ASJC Scopus subject areas