Transcription factors in glutamatergic neurogenesis: conserved programs in neocortex, cerebellum, and adult hippocampus

Neurosci Res. 2006 Jul;55(3):223-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2006.03.004. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


Glutamatergic, pyramidal-projection neurons are produced in the embryonic cerebral cortex by a series of genetically programmed fate choices, implemented in large part by developmental transcription factors. Our work has focused on Pax6, Tbr2/Eomes, NeuroD, and Tbr1, which are expressed sequentially during the neurogenesis of pyramidal-projection neurons. Recently, we have found that the same transcription factors are expressed, in the same order, during glutamatergic neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus, and (with modifications) in the developing cerebellum. While the precise functional significance of this transcription factor expression sequence is unknown, its common appearance in embryonic and adult neurogenesis, and in different brain regions, suggests it is part of a conserved genetic program that specifies general properties of glutamatergic neurons in these regions. Subtypes of glutamatergic neurons (e.g., layer-specific fates in the cortex) are further determined by combinations of transcription factors, superimposed on general sequential programs. These new perspectives on neurogenesis add to the conceptual framework for strategies to engineer neural stem cells for the repair of specific brain circuits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / embryology*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / embryology*
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Transcription Factors
  • Glutamic Acid