Several neural precursor populations contemporaneously generate neurons in the developing neocortex. Specifically, radial glial stem cells of the dorsal telencephalon divide asymmetrically to produce excitatory neurons, but also indirectly to produce neurons via three types of intermediate progenitor cells. Why so many precursor types are needed to produce neurons has not been established; whether different intermediate progenitor cells merely expand the output of radial glia or instead generate distinct types of neurons is unknown. Here we use a novel genetic fate mapping technique to simultaneously track multiple precursor streams in the developing mouse brain and show that layer 2 and 3 pyramidal neurons exhibit distinctive electrophysiological and structural properties depending upon their precursor cell type of origin. These data indicate that individual precursor subclasses synchronously produce functionally different neurons, even within the same lamina, and identify a primary mechanism leading to cortical neuronal diversity.
Keywords: electrophysiology; intermediate progenitor; layer 2/3; morphology; neurogenesis; radial glia.
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