The neuropeptide galanin has diverse roles in the central and peripheral nervous systems, by activating the G protein-coupled receptors Gal1, Gal2 and the less studied Gal3 (GalR1–3 gene products). There is a wealth of data on expression of Gal1–3 at the mRNA level, but not at the protein level due to the lack of specificity of currently available antibodies. Here we report the generation of knock-in mice expressing Gal1 or Gal2 receptor fluorescently tagged at the C-terminus with, respectively, mCherry or hrGFP (humanized Renilla green fluorescent protein). In dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons expressing the highest levels of Gal1-mCherry, localization to the somatic cell membrane was detected by live-cell fluorescence and immunohistochemistry, and that fluorescence decreased upon addition of galanin. In spinal cord, abundant Gal1-mCherry immunoreactive
processes were detected in the superficial layers of the dorsal horn,
and highly expressing intrinsic neurons of the lamina III/IV border
showed both somatic cell membrane localization and outward transport of
receptor from the cell body, detected as puncta within cell processes.
In brain, high levels of Gal1-mCherry immunofluorescence were detected within thalamus, hypothalamus and amygdala, with a high density of nerve endings in the external zone of the median eminence, and regions with lesser immunoreactivity included the dorsal raphe nucleus. Gal2-hrGFP
mRNA was detected in DRG, but live-cell fluorescence was at the limits
of detection, drawing attention to both the much lower mRNA expression
than to Gal1 in mice and the previously unrecognized potential for translational control by upstream open reading frames (uORFs).
- Dorsal root ganglion
- Spinal cord