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Cereb Cortex. 2011 Apr;21(4):845-52. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq155. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

GABAergic interneuron lineages selectively sort into specific cortical layers during early postnatal development.

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Neuroscience Program and the Department of Cell Biology, Smilow Research Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


It is of considerable interest to determine how diverse subtypes of γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) interneurons integrate into the functional network of the cerebral cortex. Using inducible in vivo genetic fate mapping approaches, we found that interneuron precursors arising from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) and caudal ganglionic eminence (CGE) at E12.5, respectively, populate deep and superficial cortical layers in a complementary manner in the mature cortex. These age-matched populations initiate tangential migration into the cortex simultaneously, migrate above and below the cortical plate in a similar ratio, and complete their entrance into the cortical plate by P1. Surprisingly, while these 2 interneuron populations show a comparable layer distribution at P1, they subsequently segregate into distinct cortical layers. In addition, the initiation of the radial sorting within each lineage coincided well with the upregulation of the potassium/chloride cotransporter KCC2. Moreover, layer sorting of a later born (E16.5) CGE-derived population occurred with a similar time course to the earlier born E12.5 cohorts, further suggesting that this segregation step is controlled in a subtype specific manner. We conclude that radial sorting within the early postnatal cortex is a key mechanism by which the layer-specific integration of GABAergic interneurons into the emerging cortical network is achieved.

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