PRDM16 regulates a temporal transcriptional program to promote progression of cortical neural progenitors

Development. 2021 Mar 17;148(6):dev194670. doi: 10.1242/dev.194670.


Radial glia (RG) in the neocortex sequentially generate distinct subtypes of projection neurons, accounting for the diversity and complex assembly of cortical neural circuits. Mechanisms that drive the rapid and precise temporal progression of RG are beginning to be elucidated. Here, we reveal that the RG-specific transcriptional regulator PRDM16 promotes the transition of early to late phase of neurogenesis in the mouse neocortex. Loss of Prdm16 delays the timely progression of RG, leading to defective cortical laminar organization. Our genomic analyses demonstrate that PRDM16 regulates a subset of genes that are dynamically expressed between early and late neurogenesis. We show that PRDM16 suppresses target gene expression through limiting chromatin accessibility of permissive enhancers. We further confirm that crucial target genes regulated by PRDM16 are neuronal specification genes, cell cycle regulators and molecules required for neuronal migration. These findings provide evidence to support the finding that neural progenitors temporally shift the gene expression program to achieve neural cell diversity.

Keywords: Mouse; Neocortex; PRDM16; Radial glia; Temporal identity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Ependymoglial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Mice
  • Neocortex / growth & development
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / genetics*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Prdm16 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors