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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Oct 1;27(10):4971-4987. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx185.

The Transcription Factors COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII have Distinct Roles in Arealisation and GABAergic Interneuron Specification in the Early Human Fetal Telencephalon.

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Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK.
Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK.
School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.


In human telencephalon at 8-12 postconceptional weeks, ribonucleic acid quantitative sequencing and immunohistochemistry revealed cortical chicken ovalbumin upstream promotor-transcription factor 1 (COUP-TFI) expression in a high ventro-posterior to low anterior gradient except for raised immunoreactivity in the anterior ventral pallium. Unlike in mouse, COUP-TFI and SP8 were extensively co-expressed in dorsal sensory neocortex and dorsal hippocampus whereas COUPTFI/COUPTFII co-expression defined ventral temporal cortex and ventral hippocampus. In the ganglionic eminences (GEs) COUP-TFI immunoreactivity demarcated the proliferative zones of caudal GE (CGE), dorsal medial GE (MGE), MGE/lateral GE (LGE) boundary, and ventral LGE whereas COUP-TFII was limited to ventral CGE and the MGE/LGE boundary. Co-labeling with gamma amino butyric acidergic interneuron markers revealed that COUP-TFI was expressed in subpopulations of either MGE-derived (SOX6+) or CGE-derived (calretinin+/SP8+) interneurons. COUP-TFII was mainly confined to CGE-derived interneurons. Twice as many GAD67+ cortical cells co-labeled for COUP-TFI than for COUP-TFII. A fifth of COUP-TFI cells also co-expressed COUP-TFII, and cells expressing either transcription factor followed posterior or anterio-lateral pathways into the cortex, therefore, a segregation of migration pathways according to COUP-TF expression as proposed in mouse was not observed. In cultures differentiated from isolated human cortical progenitors, many cells expressed either COUP-TF and 30% also co-expressed GABA, however no cells expressed NKX2.1. This suggests interneurons could be generated intracortically from progenitors expressing either COUP-TF.


SP8; cerebral cortex development; ganglionic eminences; hippocampus development; interneuron migration; ventral pallium

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