A new subtype of progenitor cell in the mouse embryonic neocortex

Nat Neurosci. 2011 May;14(5):555-61. doi: 10.1038/nn.2807. Epub 2011 Apr 10.


A hallmark of mammalian brain evolution is cortical expansion, which reflects an increase in the number of cortical neurons established by the progenitor cell subtypes present and the number of their neurogenic divisions. Recent studies have revealed a new class of radial glia-like (oRG) progenitor cells in the human brain, which reside in the outer subventricular zone. Expansion of the subventricular zone and appearance of oRG cells may have been essential evolutionary steps leading from lissencephalic to gyrencephalic neocortex. Here we show that oRG-like progenitor cells are present in the mouse embryonic neocortex. They arise from asymmetric divisions of radial glia and undergo self-renewing asymmetric divisions to generate neurons. Moreover, mouse oRG cells undergo mitotic somal translocation whereby centrosome movement into the basal process during interphase precedes nuclear translocation. Our finding of oRG cells in the developing rodent brain fills a gap in our understanding of neocortical expansion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Centrosome / physiology
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neocortex / embryology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Time Factors


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • fluorescent protein 583
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins