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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2009 Aug;20(6):726-34. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.04.003. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Molecular mechanisms of projection neuron production and maturation in the developing cerebral cortex.

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DECA Group, DEPSN UPR2197 CNRS, Avenue de la terrasse 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France.


The cerebral cortex is a brain structure unique to mammals and highly adapted to process complex information. Through multiple developmental steps, the cerebral cortex is assembled as a huge diversity of neurons comprising a complex laminar structure, and with both local and long-distance connectivity within the nervous system. Key processes must take place during its construction, including: (i) regulation of the correct number of neurons produced by progenitor cells, (ii) temporal and spatial generation of neuronal diversity, and (iii) control of neuron migration and laminar positioning as well as terminal differentiation within the mature cortex. Here, we seek to highlight recent cellular and molecular findings underlying these sequential steps of neurogenesis, cell fate specification and migration during cortical development, with particular emphasis on cortical projection neurons.

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