Molecular profiling of the developing avian telencephalon: regional timing and brain subdivision continuities

J Comp Neurol. 2013 Nov;521(16):3666-701. doi: 10.1002/cne.23406.


In our companion study (Jarvis et al. [2013] J Comp Neurol. doi: 10.1002/cne.23404) we used quantitative brain molecular profiling to discover that distinct subdivisions in the avian pallium above and below the ventricle and the associated mesopallium lamina have similar molecular profiles, leading to a hypothesis that they may form as continuous subdivisions around the lateral ventricle. To explore this hypothesis, here we profiled the expression of 16 genes at eight developmental stages. The genes included those that define brain subdivisions in the adult and some that are also involved in brain development. We found that phyletic hierarchical cluster and linear regression network analyses of gene expression profiles implicated single and mixed ancestry of these brain regions at early embryonic stages. Most gene expression-defined pallial subdivisions began as one ventral or dorsal domain that later formed specific folds around the lateral ventricle. Subsequently a clear ventricle boundary formed, partitioning them into dorsal and ventral pallial subdivisions surrounding the mesopallium lamina. These subdivisions each included two parts of the mesopallium, the nidopallium and hyperpallium, and the arcopallium and hippocampus, respectively. Each subdivision expression profile had a different temporal order of appearance, similar in timing to the order of analogous cell types of the mammalian cortex. Furthermore, like the mammalian pallium, expression in the ventral pallial subdivisions became distinct during prehatch development, whereas the dorsal portions did so during posthatch development. These findings support the continuum hypothesis of avian brain subdivision development around the ventricle and influence hypotheses on homologies of the avian pallium with other vertebrates.

Keywords: COUP-TF2; FOXP1; LHX9; PPAPPDC1A; ROR-β; anatomical gene expression networks; brain evolution; embryo; in situ hybridization; pallium; subpallium; zebra finch.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Count
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics
  • Male
  • Songbirds
  • Telencephalon* / embryology
  • Telencephalon* / growth & development
  • Telencephalon* / metabolism