Area and Layer Patterning in the Developing Cerebral Cortex

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Feb;16(1):25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2006.01.004. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


Two anatomical patterns characterize the neocortex, and both are essential for normal cortical function. First, neocortex is divided into anatomically distinct and functionally specialized areas that form a species-specific map. Second, neocortex is composed of layers that organize cortical connectivity. Recent studies of layer and area development have used time-lapse microscopy to follow cortical cell division and migration, gene arrays to find layer- or area- specific regulatory genes, time- and region- specific manipulations of candidate genes, and optical imaging to compare area maps in wild type with genetically altered mice. New observations clarify the molecular and cellular mechanisms that generate each pattern, and stress the links between layer and area formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / embryology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Neurons / physiology