Altered cerebellum development and impaired motor coordination in mice lacking the Btg1 gene: Involvement of cyclin D1

Manuela Ceccarelli, Laura Micheli, Giorgio D'Andrea, Marco De Bardi, Blanca Scheijen, Maria Teresa Ciotti, Luca Leonardi, Siro Luvisetto, Felice Tirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cerebellar granule neurons develop postnatally from cerebellar granule precursors (GCPs), which are located in the external granule layer (EGL) where they massively proliferate. Thereafter, GCPs become postmitotic, migrate inward to form the internal granule layer (IGL), further differentiate and form synapses with Purkinje cell dendrites. We previously showed that the Btg family gene, Tis21/Btg2, is required for normal GCP migration. Here we investigated the role in cerebellar development of the related gene, Btg1, which regulates stem cell quiescence in adult neurogenic niches, and is expressed in the cerebellum. Knockout of Btg1 in mice caused a major increase of the proliferation of the GCPs in the EGL, whose thickness increased, remaining hyperplastic even after postnatal day 14, when the EGL is normally reduced to a few GCP layers. This was accompanied by a slight decrease of differentiation and migration of the GCPs and increase of apoptosis. The GCPs of double Btg1/Tis21-null mice presented combined major defects of proliferation and migration outside the EGL, indicating that each gene plays unique and crucial roles in cerebellar development. Remarkably, these developmental defects lead to a permanent increase of the adult cerebellar volume in Btg1-null and double mutant mice, and to impairment in all mutants, including Tis21-null, of the cerebellum-dependent motor coordination. Gain- and loss-of-function strategies in a GCP cell line revealed that Btg1 regulates the proliferation of GCPs selectively through cyclin D1. Thus, Btg1 plays a critical role for cerebellar maturation and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Cerebellar precursor cells
  • Cyclins
  • Neural cell migration
  • Neural cell proliferation
  • Postnatal neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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