The molecular linkage between neocortical projection neuron subtype and area development, which enables the establishment of functional areas by projection neuron populations appropriate for specific sensory and motor functions, is poorly understood. Here, we report that Ctip1 controls precision of neocortical development by regulating subtype identity in deep-layer projection neurons. Ctip1 is expressed by postmitotic callosal and corticothalamic projection neurons but is excluded over embryonic development from corticospinal motor neurons, which instead express its close relative, Ctip2. Loss of Ctip1 function results in a striking bias in favor of subcerebral projection neuron development in sensory cortex at the expense of corticothalamic and deep-layer callosal development, while misexpression of Ctip1 in vivo represses subcerebral gene expression and projections. As we report in a paired paper, Ctip1 also controls acquisition of sensory area identity. Therefore, Ctip1 couples subtype and area specification, enabling specific functional areas to organize precise ratios of appropriate output projections.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.03.064
View details for PubMedID 27117402
While transcriptional controls over the size and relative position of cortical areas have been identified, less is known about regulators that direct acquisition of area-specific characteristics. Here, we report that the transcription factor Ctip1 functions in primary sensory areas to repress motor and activate sensory programs of gene expression, enabling establishment of sharp molecular boundaries defining functional areas. In Ctip1 mutants, abnormal gene expression leads to aberrantly motorized corticocortical and corticofugal output connectivity. Ctip1 critically regulates differentiation of layer IV neurons, and selective loss of Ctip1 in cortex deprives thalamocortical axons of their receptive "sensory field" in layer IV, which normally provides a tangentially and radially defined compartment of dedicated synaptic territory. Therefore, although thalamocortical axons invade appropriate cortical regions, they are unable to organize into properly configured sensory maps. Together, these data identify Ctip1 as a critical control over sensory area development.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.03.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000374504400009
View details for PubMedID 27100196
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4873772
The sophisticated circuitry of the neocortex is assembled from a diverse repertoire of neuronal subtypes generated during development under precise molecular regulation. In recent years, several key controls over the specification and differentiation of neocortical projection neurons have been identified. This work provides substantial insight into the 'molecular logic' underlying cortical development and increasingly supports a model in which individual progenitor-stage and postmitotic regulators are embedded within highly interconnected networks that gate sequential developmental decisions. Here, we provide an integrative account of the molecular controls that direct the progressive development and delineation of subtype and area identity of neocortical projection neurons.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nrn3586
View details for Web of Science ID 000325918900008
View details for PubMedID 24105342
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3876965