Transcriptional co-regulation of neuronal migration and laminar identity in the neocortex

Development. 2012 May;139(9):1535-46. doi: 10.1242/dev.069963.


The cerebral neocortex is segregated into six horizontal layers, each containing unique populations of molecularly and functionally distinct excitatory projection (pyramidal) neurons and inhibitory interneurons. Development of the neocortex requires the orchestrated execution of a series of crucial processes, including the migration of young neurons into appropriate positions within the nascent neocortex, and the acquisition of layer-specific neuronal identities and axonal projections. Here, we discuss emerging evidence supporting the notion that the migration and final laminar positioning of cortical neurons are also co-regulated by cell type- and layer-specific transcription factors that play concomitant roles in determining the molecular identity and axonal connectivity of these neurons. These transcriptional programs thus provide direct links between the mechanisms controlling the laminar position and identity of cortical neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neocortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / embryology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Transcription Factors