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J Comp Neurol. 2010 Apr 15;518(8):1232-48. doi: 10.1002/cne.22271.

Differential gene expression in migrating cortical interneurons during mouse forebrain development.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons play a vital role in modulating the activity of the cerebral cortex, and disruptions to their function have been linked to neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy. These cells originate in the ganglionic eminences (GE) of the ventral telencephalon and undergo tangential migration to enter the cortex. Currently, little is known about the signaling mechanisms that regulate interneuron migration. We therefore performed a microarray analysis comparing the changes in gene expression between the GABAergic interneurons that are actively migrating into the cortex with those in the GE. We were able to isolate pure populations of GABAergic cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting of cortex and GE from embryonic brains of glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice. Our microarray analysis identified a number of novel genes that were upregulated in migrating cortical interneurons at both E13.5 and E15.5. Many of these genes have previously been shown to play a role in cell migration of both neuronal and non-neuronal cell types. In addition, several of the genes identified are involved in the regulation of migratory processes, such as neurite outgrowth, cell adhesion, and remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and microtubule network. Moreover, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization analyses confirmed that the expression of some of these genes is restricted to cortical interneurons. These data therefore provide a framework for future studies aimed at elucidating the complexities of interneuron migration and, in turn, may reveal important genes that are related to the development of specific neurological disorders.

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