Signaling between neuron types found to instigate morphological changes during early neocortex development

April 20, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Medical Xpress report
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A team of researchers from several institutions in Japan has found that developing neocortex neurons in mammals undergo a morphological transition from a multipolar shape to a bipolar shape due at least partially to signaling in neuronal migration during brain development. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group explains the techniques they used to study the process by which the neocortex develops in mammals and what they found. Alejandro Schinder and Guillermo Lanuza with Fundación Instituto Leloir, Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de Buenos Aires, offer a Perspective piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.

As the researchers note, the mammalian is one of the most intricate assemblages in all of nature—it is a section of the cerebral cortex, and plays a major role in cognition and in processing information from the senses. The development of the neocortex is equally complex, as it develops in neuronal layers. Prior research has shown that during early development of the neocortex, excitatory created in the ventricular zone migrate toward the cortical plate (a layer of gray matter covering the brain, made of fibers and nerve cells). Other research has also revealed that the neuronal shape actually changes during migration, from multipolar to bipolar cells. But how this process occurs has been a mystery. In this new effort, the researchers used histochemical, imaging, and microarray analyses to study early neocortex in mice.

The team reports that they found that sub-plate neurons actually extended neurites towards glutamatergic synapses on the multipolar neurons, instigating signaling and causing the multipolar neurons to undergo a morphological change, resulting in a bipolar shape. The change to a bipolar shape, the team notes, resulted in neurons that were more directed, and which could migrate faster.

But as Schinder and Lanuza note, it is still not clear if the sub-plate neuronal extension and signaling is the only factor at play in coaxing the morphological changes. More research will need to be done to see if there are other players involved.

Explore further: Scientists discover regional differences among chandelier cells

More information: "Synaptic transmission from subplate neurons controls radial migration of neocortical neurons" Science (2018). … 1126/science.aar2866

Related Stories

Scientists discover regional differences among chandelier cells

October 10, 2017
The brain is composed of distinct regions that differ in their functional roles and cellular architecture. For example, the hippocampus is an area well-known for its involvement in memory and its dysfunction in diseases such ...

'Chatty' cells help build the brain

November 28, 2014
The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate structure of ...

CLOCK gene may hold answers to human brain evolution

December 6, 2017
Scientists have long sought to unravel the molecular mysteries that make the human brain special: What processes drove its evolution through the millennia? Which genes are critical to cognitive development?

Brain activity during slow-wave-sleep differs between mammals and birds

March 5, 2014
When we drift into deep slow-wave sleep (SWS), waves of neuronal activity wash across our neocortex. Birds also engage in SWS, but they lack this particular brain structure. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology ...

Scientists find key signal that guides brain development

August 7, 2013
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have decoded an important molecular signal that guides the development of a key region of the brain known as the neocortex. The largest and most recently evolved region ...

Recommended for you

Research shows signalling mechanism in the brain shapes social aggression

October 19, 2018
Duke-NUS researchers have discovered that a growth factor protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and its receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) affects social dominance in mice. The research has ...

Good spatial memory? You're likely to be good at identifying smells too

October 19, 2018
People who have better spatial memory are also better at identifying odors, according to a study published this week in Nature Communications. The study builds on a recent theory that the main reason that a sense of smell ...

How clutch molecules enable neuron migration

October 19, 2018
The brain can discriminate over 1 trillion odors. Once entering the nose, odor-related molecules activate olfactory neurons. Neuron signals first accumulate at the olfactory bulb before being passed on to activate the appropriate ...

Scientists discover the region of the brain that registers excitement over a preferred food option

October 19, 2018
At holiday buffets and potlucks, people make quick calculations about which dishes to try and how much to take of each. Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have found a brain region that appears to be strongly connected ...

Gene plays critical role in noise-induced deafness

October 19, 2018
In experiments using mice, a team of UC San Francisco researchers has discovered a gene that plays an essential role in noise-induced deafness. Remarkably, by administering an experimental chemical—identified in a separate ...

Weight loss success linked with active self-control regions of the brain

October 18, 2018
New research suggests that higher-level brain functions have a major role in losing weight. In a study among 24 participants at a weight-loss clinic, those who achieved greatest success in terms of weight loss demonstrated ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.