Published on Thu Jun 17 2021

Thalamocortical axons regulate neurogenesis and laminar fates in early sensory cortex

Nakagawa, Y., Monko, T., Rebertus, J., Stolley, J., Salton, S. R.

area-specific axonal projections from the mammalian thalamus shape unique cellular organization in target areas in the adult neocortex. How these axons control neurogenesis and early neuronal fate specification is poorly understood.

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Abstract

Area-specific axonal projections from the mammalian thalamus shape unique cellular organization in target areas in the adult neocortex. How these axons control neurogenesis and early neuronal fate specification is poorly understood. By using mutant mice lacking the majority of thalamocortical axons, we show that these axons increase the number of layer 4 neurons in primary sensory areas by enhancing neurogenesis and shifting the fate of superficial layer neurons to that of layer 4 by the neonatal stage. Part of these area-specific roles is played by the thalamus-derived molecule, VGF. Our work reveals that extrinsic cues from sensory thalamic projections have an early role in the formation of cortical cytoarchitecture by enhancing the production and specification of layer 4 neurons.