European Journal of Neuroscience

Cover image for Vol. 34 Issue 10

Special Issue: Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Differentiation

November 2011

Volume 34, Issue 10

Pages 1513–1710


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      Molecular mechanisms of neuronal specification (pages 1513–1515)

      Tibor Harkany

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07912.x

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      What are the precise molecular and cellular mechanisms that the human brain exploits to encode consciousness, identity and thought? This undoubtedly remains one of the greatest scientific challenges facing mankind.


      Specification and regionalisation of the neural plate border (pages 1516–1528)

      Cédric Patthey and Lena Gunhaga

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07871.x

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      During early vertebrate development, the embryonic ectoderm becomes subdivided into neural, neural plate border (border) and epidermal regions. The nervous system is derived from the neural and border domains which, respectively, give rise to the central and peripheral nervous systems.

    3. Dependence on the transcription factor Shox2 for specification of sensory neurons conveying discriminative touch (pages 1529–1541)

      Hind Abdo, Lili Li, Francois Lallemend, Isabelle Bachy, Xiao-Jun Xu, Frank L. Rice and Patrik Ernfors

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07883.x

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      Touch sensation is mediated by specific subtypes of sensory neurons which develop in a hierarchical process from common early progenitor neurons, but the molecular mechanism that underlies diversification of touch-sensitive mechanoreceptive neurons is not fully known. Here, we use genetically manipulated mice to examine whether the transcription factor short stature homeobox 2 (Shox2) participates in the acquisition of neuronal subtypes conveying touch sensation.

    4. Decoding the transcriptional basis for GABAergic interneuron diversity in the mouse neocortex (pages 1542–1552)

      Paul G. Anastasiades and Simon J. B. Butt

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07904.x

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      The locally projecting GABAergic interneurons of the mammalian cerebral cortex are a highly heterogeneous population, whose malfunction or deficit has been implicated in a wide range of neurological disorders. However, the low incidence of the various distinct interneuron populations within the neocortex, combined with the lack of molecular or physiological markers specific to these subtypes, have hampered investigations into their function in the normal and dysfunctional brain.

    5. Development of raphe serotonin neurons from specification to guidance (pages 1553–1562)

      Vera Kiyasova and Patricia Gaspar

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07910.x

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      The main features of the development of the serotonin (5-HT) raphe neurons have been known for many years but more recent molecular studies, using mouse genetics, have since unveiled several intriguing aspects of the specification of the raphe serotonergic system. These studies indicated that, although all 5-HT neurons in the raphe follow the same general program for their specification, there are also clear regional differences in the way that these neurons are specified and are guided towards different brain targets.

    6. Transcriptional control of differentiation and neurogenesis in autonomic ganglia (pages 1563–1573)

      Hermann Rohrer

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07860.x

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      Autonomic neuron development is controlled by a network of transcription factors, which is induced by bone morphogenetic protein signalling in neural crest progenitor cells. This network intersects with a transcriptional program in migratory neural crest cells that pre-specifies autonomic neuron precursor cells.

    7. Molecular mechanisms of maternal cannabis and cigarette use on human neurodevelopment (pages 1574–1583)

      Claudia V. Morris, Jennifer A. DiNieri, Henrietta Szutorisz and Yasmin L. Hurd

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07884.x

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      Prenatal development is highly sensitive to maternal drug use due to the vulnerability for disruption of the fetal brain with its ongoing neurodevelopment, resulting in lifelong consequences that can enhance risk for psychiatric disorders. Cannabis and cigarettes are the most commonly used illicit and licit substances, respectively, among pregnant women.

    8. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Differential gene expression in migratory streams of cortical interneurons (pages 1584–1594)

      Mary Antypa, Clare Faux, Gregor Eichele, John G. Parnavelas and William D. Andrews

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07896.x

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      Cortical interneurons originate in the ganglionic eminences of the subpallium and migrate into the cortex in well-defined tangential streams. At the start of corticogenesis, two streams of migrating neurons are evident: a superficial one at the level of the preplate (PPL), and a deeper one at the level of the intermediate zone (IZ).

    9. Cell-autonomous and cell-to-cell signalling events in normal and altered neuronal migration (pages 1595–1608)

      Jean-Bernard Manent, Shirley Beguin, Thibault Ganay and Alfonso Represa

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07867.x

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      The cerebral cortex is a complex six-layered structure that contains an important diversity of neurons, and has rich local and extrinsic connectivity. Among the mechanisms governing the cerebral cortex construction, neuronal migration is perhaps the most crucial as it ensures the timely formation of specific and selective neuronal circuits.

    10. The axon initial segment in nervous system disease and injury (pages 1609–1619)

      Shelly A. Buffington and Matthew N. Rasband

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07875.x

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      The axon initial segment (AIS), with its dense clusters of voltage-gated ion channels decorating the axonal membrane, regulates action potential initiation and modulation. The AIS also functions as a barrier to maintain axodendritic polarity, and its precise axonal location contributes to the fine-tuning of neuronal excitability.

    11. Forward signaling by EphB1/EphB2 interacting with ephrin-B ligands at the optic chiasm is required to form the ipsilateral projection (pages 1620–1633)

      George Chenaux and Mark Henkemeyer

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07845.x

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      EphB receptor tyrosine kinases direct axonal pathfinding through interactions with ephrin-B proteins following axon–cell contact. As EphB:ephrin-B binding leads to bidirectional signals, the contributions of signaling into the Eph-expressing cell (forward signaling) or the ephrin-expressing cell (reverse signaling) cannot be assigned using traditional protein null alleles.

    12. DAGL-dependent endocannabinoid signalling: roles in axonal pathfinding, synaptic plasticity and adult neurogenesis (pages 1634–1646)

      Madeleine J. Oudin, Carl Hobbs and Patrick Doherty

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07831.x

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      Until recently, endocannabinoid (eCB) signalling was largely studied in the context of synaptic plasticity in the postnatal brain in the absence of detailed knowledge of the nature of the enzyme(s) responsible for the synthesis of the eCBs. However, the identification of two diacylglycerol lipases (DAGLα and DAGLβ) responsible for the synthesis of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) has increased the understanding of where this eCB is synthesised in relationship to the expression of cannabinoid receptor (CB)1 and CB2.

    13. Axon–axon interactions in neuronal circuit assembly: lessons from olfactory map formation (pages 1647–1654)

      Takeshi Imai and Hitoshi Sakano

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07817.x

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      During the development of the nervous system, neurons often connect axons and dendrites over long distances, which are navigated by chemical cues. During the past few decades, studies on axon guidance have focused on chemical cues provided by the axonal target or intermediate target.

    14. From filopodia to synapses: the role of actin-capping and anti-capping proteins (pages 1655–1662)

      Elisabetta Menna, Giuliana Fossati, Giorgio Scita and Michela Matteoli

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07897.x

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      Actin-capping and anti-capping proteins are crucial regulators of actin dynamics. Recent studies have indicated that these proteins may be heavily involved in all stages of synaptogenesis, from the emergence of filopodia, through neuritogenesis and synaptic contact stabilization, to the structural changes occurring at the synapse during potentiation phenomena.

    15. What can we get from ‘barrels’: the rodent barrel cortex as a model for studying the establishment of neural circuits (pages 1663–1676)

      Chia-Shan Wu, Carlos J. Ballester Rosado and Hui-Chen Lu

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07892.x

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      Sensory inputs triggered by external stimuli are projected into discrete arrays of neuronal modules in the primary sensory cortex. This whisker-to-barrel pathway has gained in popularity as a model system for studying the development of cortical circuits and sensory processing because its clear patterns facilitate the identification of genetically modified mice with whisker map deficits and make possible coordinated in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological studies.

    16. Electrical activity patterns and the functional maturation of the neocortex (pages 1677–1686)

      Werner Kilb, Sergei Kirischuk and Heiko J. Luhmann

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07878.x

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      At the earliest developmental stages, sensory neocortical areas in various species reveal distinct patterns of spontaneous neuronal network activity. These activity patterns either propagate over large neocortical areas or synchronize local neuronal ensembles.

    17. Postnatal differentiation of cortical interneuron signalling (pages 1687–1696)

      Jonas-Frederic Sauer and Marlene Bartos

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07872.x

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      Most GABAergic interneurons in the cortex are born at embryonic stages in the ganglionic eminences and migrate tangentially to their final destination. They continue, however, to differentiate and functionally integrate in the circuitry until later postnatal stages of the rodent brain.

    18. Climbing fiber synapse elimination in cerebellar Purkinje cells (pages 1697–1710)

      Masahiko Watanabe and Masanobu Kano

      Version of Record online: 21 NOV 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07894.x

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      Innervation of Purkinje cells (PCs) by multiple climbing fibers (CFs) is refined into mono-innervation during the first three postnatal weeks of rodents’ lives. In this review article, we will integrate the current knowledge on developmental process and mechanisms of CF synapse elimination.