Galazo MJ, Emsley JG, Macklis JD. 2016. Corticothalamic Projection Neuron Development beyond Subtype Specification: Fog2 and Intersectional Controls Regulate Intraclass Neuronal Diversity. Neuron. 91(1):90-106. Pubmed: 27321927 DOI:S0896-6273(16)30203-3


Corticothalamic projection neurons (CThPN) are a diverse set of neurons, critical for function of the neocortex. CThPN development and diversity need to be precisely regulated, but little is known about molecular controls over their differentiation and functional specialization, critically limiting understanding of cortical development and complexity. We report the identification of a set of genes that both define CThPN and likely control their differentiation, diversity, and function. We selected the CThPN-specific transcriptional coregulator Fog2 for functional analysis. We identify that Fog2 controls CThPN molecular differentiation, axonal targeting, and diversity, in part by regulating the expression level of Ctip2 by CThPN, via combinatorial interactions with other molecular controls. Loss of Fog2 specifically disrupts differentiation of subsets of CThPN specialized in motor function, indicating that Fog2 coordinates subtype and functional-area differentiation. These results confirm that we identified key controls over CThPN development and identify Fog2 as a critical control over CThPN diversity.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Jeffrey Macklis investigates molecular controls and mechanisms over neuron subtype specification, development, diversity, axon guidance-circuit formation, and pathology in the cerebral cortex. His lab seeks to apply developmental controls toward brain and spinal cord regeneration and directed differentiation for in vitro mechanistic modeling using human assembloids.

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