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Neuron. 2011 Aug 25;71(4):695-709. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.06.018.

Pioneer GABA cells comprise a subpopulation of hub neurons in the developing hippocampus.

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Inserm Unité 901, Marseille 13009, France.


Connectivity in the developing hippocampus displays a functional organization particularly effective in supporting network synchronization, as it includes superconnected hub neurons. We have previously shown that hub network function is supported by a subpopulation of GABA neurons. However, it is unclear whether hub cells are only transiently present or later develop into distinctive subclasses of interneurons. These questions are difficult to assess given the heterogeneity of the GABA neurons and the poor early expression of markers. To circumvent this conundrum, we used "genetic fate mapping" that allows for the selective labeling of GABA neurons based on their place and time of origin. We show that early-generated GABA cells form a subpopulation of hub neurons, characterized by an exceptionally widespread axonal arborization and the ability to single-handedly impact network dynamics when stimulated. Pioneer hub neurons remain into adulthood, when they acquire the classical markers of long-range projecting GABA neurons.

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