Identification of distinct telencephalic progenitor pools for neuronal diversity in the amygdala

Nat Neurosci. 2009 Feb;12(2):141-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2241. Epub 2009 Jan 11.


The development of the amygdala, a central structure of the limbic system, remains poorly understood. We found that two spatially distinct and early-specified telencephalic progenitor pools marked by the homeodomain transcription factor Dbx1 are major sources of neuronal cell diversity in the mature mouse amygdala. We found that Dbx1-positive cells of the ventral pallium generate the excitatory neurons of the basolateral complex and cortical amygdala nuclei. Moreover, Dbx1-derived cells comprise a previously unknown migratory stream that emanates from the preoptic area (POA), a ventral telencephalic domain adjacent to the diencephalic border. The Dbx1-positive, POA-derived population migrated specifically to the amygdala and, as defined by both immunochemical and electrophysiological criteria, generated a unique subclass of inhibitory neurons in the medial amygdala nucleus. Thus, this POA-derived population represents a previously unknown progenitor pool dedicated to the limbic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / cytology*
  • Amygdala / embryology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Lac Operon
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pregnancy
  • Preoptic Area / cytology
  • Preoptic Area / embryology
  • Preoptic Area / physiology
  • Stem Cell Niche / cytology*
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Dbx1 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases