Selective early expression of the orphan nuclear receptorNr4a2identifies the claustrum homolog in the avian mesopallium: Impact on sauropsidian/mammalian pallium comparisons

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The transcription factor Nr4a2 was recently revealed as a very early developmental marker of the claustrum (CL) proper in the mouse. The earliest claustral primordium was identified superficially, dorsal to the olfactory cortex, and was subsequently covered by the Nr4a2-negative cells of the insular cortex. Some tangentially migrating claustral derivatives (subplate cells and some endopiriform elements) also expressed this marker. The present study employs the same genetic marker to explore the presence of a comparable pallial division in chicken in which, in principle, the same pallial sectors exist as in mammals. We were indeed able to delineate an early-developing Nr4a2-positive mantle domain at the expected topologic position within the developing chicken lateral pallium. In the chicken as well as in the turtle (from data in the literature), the earliest postmitotic lateropallial cells likewise express Nr4a2 and occupy a corticoid superficial stratum of the mesopallium, which is clearly comparable in spatial and chronological profile to the mouse CL. Other cells produced in this pallial sector include various tangentially migrating Nr4a2-labeled derivatives as well as Nr4a2-negative and Nr4a2-positive local deeper subpopulations that partially interdigitate, forming mesopallial core and shell populations. We hold that the deep avian and reptilian mesopallial formation developing under the superficial corticoid CL homolog represents a field homolog of the insula, although additional studies are required to underpin this hypothesis. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:665–703, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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