Strategies for analyzing neuronal progenitor development and neuronal migration in the developing cerebral cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2011 Jul;21(7):1465-74. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq197. Epub 2010 Nov 15.


The emergence of functional neuronal connectivity in the developing cerebral cortex depends on 1) neural progenitor differentiation, which leads to the generation of appropriate number and types of neurons, and 2) neuronal migration, which enables the appropriate positioning of neurons so that the correct patterns of functional synaptic connectivity between neurons can emerge. In this review, we discuss 1) currently available methods to study neural progenitor development and differentiation in the developing cerebral cortex and emerging technologies in this regard, 2) assays to study the migration of descendents of progenitors (i.e., neurons) in vitro and in vivo, and 3) the use of these assays to probe the molecular control of these events in the developing brain and evaluation of gene functions disrupted in human neurodevelopmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Organogenesis / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*