Satb2 Regulates EphA7 to Control Soma Spacing and Self-Avoidance of Cortical Pyramidal Neurons

Cereb Cortex. 2021 Sep 21;bhab321. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhab321. Online ahead of print.


Soma spacing and dendritic arborization during brain development are key events for the establishment of proper neural circuitry and function. Transcription factor Satb2 is a molecular node in regulating the development of the cerebral cortex, as shown by the facts that Satb2 is required for the regionalization of retrosplenial cortex, the determination of callosal neuron fate, and the regulation of soma spacing and dendritic self-avoidance of cortical pyramidal neurons. In this study, we explored downstream effectors that mediate the Satb2-implicated soma spacing and dendritic self-avoidance. First, RNA-seq analysis of the cortex revealed differentially expressed genes between control and Satb2 CKO mice. Among them, EphA7 transcription was dramatically increased in layers II/III of Satb2 CKO cortex. Overexpression of EphA7 in the late-born cortical neurons of wild-type mice via in utero electroporation resulted in soma clumping and impaired self-avoidance of affected pyramidal neurons, which resembles the phenotypes caused by knockdown of Satb2 expression. Importantly, the phenotypes by Satb2 knockdown was rescued by reducing EphA7 expression in the cortex. Finally, ChIP and luciferase reporter assays indicated a direct suppression of EphA7 expression by Satb2. These findings provide new insights into the complexity of transcriptional regulation of the morphogenesis of cerebral cortex.

Keywords: EphA7; Satb2; in utero electroporation; self-avoidance; soma spacing.