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Cell Rep. 2017 Jan 24;18(4):849-856. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.001.

Lhx2 Expression in Postmitotic Cortical Neurons Initiates Assembly of the Thalamocortical Somatosensory Circuit.

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Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan.
Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan.
Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, CNB-CSIC, Darwin 3, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid 28049, Spain.
Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan. Electronic address:


Cortical neurons must be specified and make the correct connections during development. Here, we examine a mechanism initiating neuronal circuit formation in the barrel cortex, a circuit comprising thalamocortical axons (TCAs) and layer 4 (L4) neurons. When Lhx2 is selectively deleted in postmitotic cortical neurons using conditional knockout (cKO) mice, L4 neurons in the barrel cortex are initially specified but fail to form cellular barrels or develop polarized dendrites. In Lhx2 cKO mice, TCAs from the thalamic ventral posterior nucleus reach the barrel cortex but fail to further arborize to form barrels. Several activity-regulated genes and genes involved in regulating barrel formation are downregulated in the Lhx2 cKO somatosensory cortex. Among them, Btbd3, an activity-regulated gene controlling dendritic development, is a direct downstream target of Lhx2. We find that Lhx2 confers neuronal competency for activity-dependent dendritic development in L4 neurons by inducing the expression of Btbd3.


Lhx2; barrel cortex; dendritic asymmetry; layer 4 neurons

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