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Cell-type-specific gene expression in developing mouse neocortex: intermediate progenitors implicated in axon development

Bedogni, Francesco and Hevner, Robert F. 2021. Cell-type-specific gene expression in developing mouse neocortex: intermediate progenitors implicated in axon development. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 14 , 686034. 10.3389/fnmol.2021.686034

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Cerebral cortex projection neurons (PNs) are generated from intermediate progenitors (IPs), which are in turn derived from radial glial progenitors (RGPs). To investigate developmental processes in IPs, we profiled IP transcriptomes in embryonic mouse neocortex, using transgenic Tbr2-GFP mice, cell sorting, and microarrays. These data were used in combination with in situ hybridization to ascertain gene sets specific for IPs, RGPs, PNs, interneurons, and other neural and non-neural cell types. RGP-selective transcripts (n = 419) included molecules for Notch receptor signaling, proliferation, neural stem cell identity, apical junctions, necroptosis, hippo pathway, and NF-κB pathway. RGPs also expressed specific genes for critical interactions with meningeal and vascular cells. In contrast, IP-selective genes (n = 136) encoded molecules for activated Delta ligand presentation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, core planar cell polarity (PCP), axon genesis, and intrinsic excitability. Interestingly, IPs expressed several “dependence receptors” (Unc5d, Dcc, Ntrk3, and Epha4) that induce apoptosis in the absence of ligand, suggesting a competitive mechanism for IPs and new PNs to detect key environmental cues or die. Overall, our results imply a novel role for IPs in the patterning of neuronal polarization, axon differentiation, and intrinsic excitability prior to mitosis. Significantly, IPs highly express Wnt-PCP, netrin, and semaphorin pathway molecules known to regulate axon polarization in other systems. In sum, IPs not only amplify neurogenesis quantitatively, but also molecularly “prime” new PNs for axogenesis, guidance, and excitability.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1662-5099
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 6 March 2021
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 07:59

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