Temporal specification and bilaterality of human neocortical topographic gene expression

Neuron. 2014 Jan 22;81(2):321-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.018. Epub 2013 Dec 26.


Transcriptional events involved in the development of human cerebral neocortex are poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the temporal dynamics and laterality of gene expression in human and macaque monkey neocortex. We found that interareal differences exhibit a temporal hourglass pattern, dividing the human neocortical development into three major phases. The first phase, corresponding to prenatal development, is characterized by the highest number of differential expressed genes among areas and gradient-like expression patterns, including those that are different between human and macaque. The second, preadolescent phase, is characterized by lesser interareal expression differences and by an increased synchronization of areal transcriptomes. During the third phase, from adolescence onward, differential expression among areas increases again driven predominantly by a subset of areas, without obvious gradient-like patterns. Analyses of left-right gene expression revealed population-level global symmetry throughout the fetal and postnatal time span. Thus, human neocortical topographic gene expression is temporally specified and globally symmetric.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neocortex* / enzymology
  • Neocortex* / growth & development
  • Neocortex* / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcriptome
  • Young Adult


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins