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Excitatory neurons of the mammalian cerebral cortex are organized into six functional layers characterized by unique patterns of connectivity, as well as distinctive physiological and morphological properties. Cortical layers appear after a highly regulated migration process in which cells move from the deeper, proliferative zone toward the superficial layers. Importantly, defects in this radial migration process have been implicated in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases. Here we report that during the final stages of migration, transcription factor Neurogenic Differentiation 2 (Neurod2) contributes to terminal cellular localization within the cortical plate. In mice, in utero knockdown of Neurod2 resulted in reduced numbers of neurons localized to the uppermost region of the developing cortex, also termed the primitive cortical zone. Our ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq analyses of genes regulated by NEUROD2 in the developing cortex identified a number of key target genes with known roles in Reelin signaling, a critical regulator of neuronal migration. Our focused analysis of regulation of the Reln gene, encoding the extracellular ligand REELIN, uncovered NEUROD2 binding to conserved E-box elements in multiple introns. Furthermore, we demonstrate that knockdown of NEUROD2 in primary cortical neurons resulted in a strong increase in Reln gene expression at the mRNA level, as well as a slight upregulation at the protein level. These data reveal a new role for NEUROD2 during the late stages of neuronal migration, and our analysis of its genomic targets offers new genes with potential roles in cortical lamination.


Gizem Guzelsoy, Cansu Akkaya, Dila Atak, Cory D Dunn, Alkan Kabakcioglu, Nurhan Ozlu, Gulayse Ince-Dunn. Terminal neuron localization to the upper cortical plate is controlled by the transcription factor NEUROD2. Scientific reports. 2019 Dec 23;9(1):19697

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PMID: 31873146

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