Causes and consequences of expanded subventricular zones

Authors

  • Christine J. Charvet,

    1. Department of Psychology, Cornell University, 229 Uris Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
    2. Department of Neurobiology & Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
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  • Georg F. Striedter

    1. Department of Neurobiology & Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
    2. Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
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Dr C. J. Charvet, 1Department of Psychology, as above.
E-mail: charvetcj@gmail.com

Abstract

Primates have evolved an expanded isocortex relative to many other mammals. Parrots and songbirds have evolved an expanded telencephalon relative to many other birds. Previous work suggests that the expansion of the telencephalon in parrots and songbirds as well as the isocortex in primates is achieved, at least in part, by selectively delaying neurogenesis, expanding the subventricular zone (SVZ) and delaying maturation. The finding that similar developmental alterations in the spatial and temporal pattern of neurogenesis evolved together in these two distant lineages suggests that a single change in developmental mechanism might account for the expansion of the isocortex or telencephalon. We here review how uniformly lengthening developmental schedules may result in delays of neurogenesis, the expansion of the SVZ and delayed maturation. We propose that delays in neurogenesis may cause ventricular zone (VZ) cells to proliferate faster than the VZ can expand, which may force many proliferating cells to leave the VZ and form an expanded SVZ. Prolonged proliferation in the VZ and SVZ causes delays in neuronal maturation, which in turn may promote learning from conspecifics. Thus, we suggest that a single heterochronic change in developmental timing may orchestrate a variety of changes in the spatial and temporal pattern of proliferation, which has important behavioral consequences in adulthood.

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