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Mol Neurobiol. 2004 Dec;30(3):225-51.

Neuronal migration and the role of reelin during early development of the cerebral cortex.

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Developmental Neurobiology Unit, University of Louvain Medical School, Brussels, Belgium.


During development, neurons migrate to the cortex radially from periventricular germinative zones as well as tangentially from ganglionic eminences. The vast majority of cortical neurons settle radially in the cortical plate. Neuronal migration requires an exquisite regulation of leading edge extension, nuclear translocation (nucleokinesis), and retraction of trailing processes. During the past few years, several genes and proteins have been identified that are implicated in neuronal migration. Many have been characterized by reference to known mechanisms of neuronal and non-neuronal cell migration in culture; however, probably the most interesting have been identified by gene inactivation or modification in mice and by positional cloning of brain malformation genes in humans and mice. Although it is impossible to provide a fully integrated view, some patterns clearly emerge and are the subject of this article. Specific emphasis is placed on three aspects: first, the role of the actin treadmill, with cyclic formation of filopodial and lamellipodial extensions, in relation to surface events that occur at the leading edge of radially migrating neurons; second, the regulation of microtubule dynamics, which seems to play a key role in nucleokinesis; and third, the mechanisms by which the extracellular protein Reelin regulates neuronal positioning at the end of migration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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