By using the developing monkey brain as a model for human development, we investigated the expression pattern of the FOXP2 gene, a member of the FOX family of transcription factors in the developing monkey brain, and compared its expression pattern with transcription factors PBX3, MEIS2, and FOXP1. We observed FOXP2 mRNA expression in several brain structures, including the striatum, the islands of Calleja and other basal forebrain regions, the cerebral cortex, and the thalamus. FOXP2 mRNA was preferentially expressed in striosomal compartments during striatal development. The striosomal expression was transient and developmentally down-regulated in a topographical order. Specifically, during the perinatal state, striosomal FOXP2 expression was detected in both the caudate nucleus and the putamen, although expression was more prominent in the caudate nucleus than in the putamen. Striosomal FOXP2 expression declined during the postnatal period, first in the putamen and later in the caudate nucleus. During the same period, we also detected PBX3 mRNA in the striosomal compartment of the developing monkey striatum. FOXP2, as well as PBX3 and MEIS2, was expressed in the islands of Calleja and other cell clusters of the basal forebrain. FOXP2, in combination with PBX3 and MEIS2, may play a pivotal role in the development of striosomal neurons of the striatum and the islands of Calleja.
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