The guidance molecule Semaphorin3A is differentially involved in the arealization of the mouse and primate neocortex

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The visual cortex is organized into discrete domains characterized by their specific function, connectivity, chemoarchitecture, and cytoarchitecture. Gradients of transcription factors across the anteroposterior and mediolateral axes of the neocortex have previously been demonstrated to specify the main sensory regions. However, they do not account for the establishment of multiple areas in the primate visual cortex, which occupies approximately 50 of the neocortical surface. We demonstrate that the guidance molecule Semaphorin3A (Sema3A) is initially secreted in the cortical plate of the embryonic marmoset monkey and acts as an intrinsic cue to control the migration of subpopulations of neuronal progenitors and projection neurons expressing the receptor Neuropilin 1 (Npn1). During the first 2 postnatal weeks, Sema3A expression becomes primarily associated with ventral visual cortical areas, leading to the specific migration of Npn1+ neurons in the late maturing visual areas. In the mouse, Sema3A distribution is not arealized, but Npn1 expression becomes restricted to the posterior neocortex at embryonic day 16.5. The selective reduction in the striate cortex we observe in Sema3A-/- animals potentially results from the differential distribution of Npn1+ cells. Therefore, the Sema3A/Npn1 pathway participates to the parcellation of the visual neocortex in both the mouse and the marmoset, however, through different regulatory processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2884-2898
Number of pages15
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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