Specification of excitatory neurons in the developing cerebral cortex: Progenitor diversity and environmental influences

Marcos R. Costa, Ulrich Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The mature cerebral cortex harbors a heterogeneous population of glutamatergic neurons, organized into a highly intricate histological architecture. Classically, this mixed population of neurons was thought to be generated sequentially from a seemingly homogenous group of progenitors under the influence of external cues. This view, however, has been challenged in the last decade by evidences pointing to the existence of fate-restricted neuronal progenitors in the developing neocortex. Here, we review classical studies using cell transplantation, retroviral labeling and cell culture, as well as new data from genetic fate-mapping analysis, to discuss the lineage relationships between neocortical progenitors and subclasses of excitatory neurons. We also propose a temporal model to conciliate the existence of fate-restricted progenitors alongside multipotent progenitors in the neocortex. Finally, we discuss evidences for a critical period of plasticity among post mitotic excitatory cortical neurons when environmental influences could change neuronal cell fate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number449
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberJAN
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cerebral cortex
  • Development
  • Excitatory neurons
  • Neuronal specification
  • Progenitor diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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