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Neuron. 1988 Oct;1(8):635-47.

Cell lineage in the cerebral cortex of the mouse studied in vivo and in vitro with a recombinant retrovirus.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


To analyze cell lineage in the murine cerebral cortex, we infected progenitor cells with a recombinant retrovirus, then used the retroviral gene product to identify the descendants of infected cells. Cortices were infected on E12-E14 either in vivo or following dissociation and culture. In both cases, nearly all clones contained either neurons or glia, but not both. Thus, neuronal and glial lineages appear to diverge early in cortical development. To analyze the distribution of clonally related cells in vivo, clonal boundaries were reconstructed from serial sections. Perinatally (E18-PN0), clonally related cells were radially arrayed as they migrated to the cortical plate. Thus, clonal cohorts traverse a similar radial path. Following migration (PN7-PN23), neuronal clones generally remained radially arrayed, while glial clones were variable in orientation, suggesting that these two cell types accumulate in different ways. Neuronal clones sometimes spanned the full thickness of the cortex. Thus, a single progenitor can contribute neurons to several laminae.

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