Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Repressing Early Neuronal Cell Fates

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Science's STKE  06 Jan 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 214, pp. tw11
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2142004tw11

As the mammalian brain develops, newly formed neurons become organized into layers in the cortex. The earliest-born neurons form the deepest layers, with later-born neurons forming progressively more superficial layers. How do neuronal progenitors produce different types of offspring as developmental time progresses? Hanashima et al. (Perspective by Levitt) now show that the potential for an early cell fate is not really bypassed with time, but persists and is repressed by continuous expression of a regulatory factor. For example, Cajal-Retzius neurons are produced early, and their absence in later-born neuronal cell layers is caused by suppression of the Cajal-Retzius differentiation pathway by the transcription factor Foxg1.

C. Hanashima, S. C. Li, L. Shen, E. Lai, G. Fishell, Foxg1 suppresses early cortical cell fate. Science 303, 56-59 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. Levitt, Sealing cortical cell fate. Science 303, 48-49 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]