Cortical Development Requires Mesodermal Expression ofTbx1, a Gene Haploinsufficient in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome


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Abstract

In mammals, proper temporal control of neurogenesis and neural migration during embryonic development ensures correct formation of the cerebral cortex. Changes in the distribution of cortical projection neurons and interneurons are associated with behavioral disorders and psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia and autism, suggesting that disrupted cortical connectivity contributes to the brain pathology. TBX1 is the major candidate gene for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS), a chromosomal deletion disorder characterized by a greatly increased risk for schizophrenia. We have previously shown that Tbx1 heterozygous mice have reduced prepulse inhibition, a behavioral abnormality that is associated with 22q11.2DS and nonsyndromic schizophrenia. Here, we show that loss of Tbx1 disrupts corticogenesis in mice by promoting premature neuronal differentiation in the medio-lateral embryonic cortex, which gives rise to the somatosensory cortex (S1). In addition, we found altered polarity in both radially migrating excitatory neurons and tangentially migrating inhibitory interneurons. Together, these abnormalities lead to altered lamination in the S1 at the terminal stages of corticogenesis in Tbx1 null mice and similar anomalies in Tbx1 heterozygous adult mice. Finally, we show that mesoderm-specific inactivation of Tbx1 is sufficient to recapitulate the brain phenotype indicating that Tbx1 exerts a cell nonautonomous role in cortical development from the mesoderm.

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