Cilia: Traffic Directors Along the Road of Cortical Development

Neuroscientist. 2014 Oct;20(5):468-82. doi: 10.1177/1073858414543151. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


While the presence of a primary cilium on neural progenitors and on post-mitotic neurons was noted long ago, a primary cilium has been observed on migrating cortical interneurons only recently. As in fibroblasts, the cilium of interneurons controls the directionality of migration. It plays an important role in the reorientation of cortical interneurons toward the cortical plate. The morphogen Shh, which is expressed in the migratory pathway of interneurons, is one of the signals that control this reorientation. After a short description of the migratory pathways of cortical interneurons, we focus on cellular mechanisms that allow interneurons to reorient their trajectory during their long-distance migration. Then we examine the role of the primary cilium in cell migration and how ciliogenesis might be related to the migration cycle in interneurons. Finally, we review the molecular mechanisms at the basis of the sensory function of the primary cilium and examine how Shh signals could influence the migratory behavior of cortical interneurons. These novel data provide a cellular basis to further understanding cognitive deficits associated with human ciliopathies.

Keywords: ciliopathy; cortical interneuron; cytoskeleton; developing cortex; primary cilium; sonic hedgehog.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cilia / physiology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology


  • Hedgehog Proteins