Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2017 Apr;20(4):516-528. doi: 10.1038/nn.4519. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Ontogenetic establishment of order-specific nuclear organization in the mammalian thalamus.

Shi W1,2, Xianyu A1,3, Han Z4,5, Tang X5, Li Z1, Zhong H6, Mao T6, Huang K5, Shi SH1,2,3.

Author information

Developmental Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
Neuroscience Graduate Program, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.
Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology Graduate Program, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.
College of Software, Nankai University, Tianjin, China.
Department of Biomedical Informatics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.


The thalamus connects the cortex with other brain regions and supports sensory perception, movement, and cognitive function via numerous distinct nuclei. However, the mechanisms underlying the development and organization of diverse thalamic nuclei remain largely unknown. Here we report an intricate ontogenetic logic of mouse thalamic structures. Individual radial glial progenitors in the developing thalamus actively divide and produce a cohort of neuronal progeny that shows striking spatial configuration and nuclear occupation related to functionality. Whereas the anterior clonal cluster displays relatively more tangential dispersion and contributes predominantly to nuclei with cognitive functions, the medial ventral posterior clonal cluster forms prominent radial arrays and contributes mostly to nuclei with sensory- or motor-related activities. Moreover, the first-order and higher-order sensory and motor nuclei across different modalities are largely segregated clonally. Notably, sonic hedgehog signaling activity influences clonal spatial distribution. Our study reveals lineage relationship to be a critical regulator of nonlaminated thalamus development and organization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center