Morphoelectric and transcriptomic divergence of the layer 1 interneuron repertoire in human versus mouse neocortex

Science. 2023 Oct 13;382(6667):eadf0805. doi: 10.1126/science.adf0805. Epub 2023 Oct 13.


Neocortical layer 1 (L1) is a site of convergence between pyramidal-neuron dendrites and feedback axons where local inhibitory signaling can profoundly shape cortical processing. Evolutionary expansion of human neocortex is marked by distinctive pyramidal neurons with extensive L1 branching, but whether L1 interneurons are similarly diverse is underexplored. Using Patch-seq recordings from human neurosurgical tissue, we identified four transcriptomic subclasses with mouse L1 homologs, along with distinct subtypes and types unmatched in mouse L1. Subclass and subtype comparisons showed stronger transcriptomic differences in human L1 and were correlated with strong morphoelectric variability along dimensions distinct from mouse L1 variability. Accompanied by greater layer thickness and other cytoarchitecture changes, these findings suggest that L1 has diverged in evolution, reflecting the demands of regulating the expanded human neocortical circuit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neocortex* / cytology
  • Neocortex* / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Transcriptome