Ablation of the 14-3-3gamma Protein Results in Neuronal Migration Delay and Morphological Defects in the Developing Cerebral Cortex

Dev Neurobiol. 2016 Jun;76(6):600-14. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22335. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


14-3-3 proteins are ubiquitously-expressed and multifunctional proteins. There are seven isoforms in mammals with a high level of homology, suggesting potential functional redundancy. We previously found that two of seven isoforms, 14-3-3epsilon and 14-3-3zeta, are important for brain development, in particular, radial migration of pyramidal neurons in the developing cerebral cortex. In this work, we analyzed the function of another isoform, the protein 14-3-3gamma, with respect to neuronal migration in the developing cortex. We found that in utero 14-3-3gamma-deficiency resulted in delays in neuronal migration as well as morphological defects. Migrating neurons deficient in 14-3-3gamma displayed a thicker leading process stem, and the basal ends of neurons were not able to reach the boundary between the cortical plate and the marginal zone. Consistent with the results obtained from in utero electroporation, time-lapse live imaging of brain slices revealed that the ablation of the 14-3-3gamma proteins in pyramidal neurons slowed down their migration. In addition, the 14-3-3gamma deficient neurons showed morphological abnormalities, including increased multipolar neurons with a thicker leading processes stem during migration. These results indicate that the 14-3-3gamma proteins play an important role in radial migration by regulating the morphology of migrating neurons in the cerebral cortex. The findings underscore the pathological phenotypes of brain development associated with the disruption of different 14-3-3 proteins and will advance the preclinical data regarding disorders caused by neuronal migration defects.

Keywords: 14-3-3; cerebral cortex; in utero electroporation; neuronal migration; time-lapse live imaging.

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / deficiency*
  • 14-3-3 Proteins / genetics
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Electroporation
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Bromodeoxyuridine