The protocadherin 11X/Y (PCDH11X/Y) gene pair as determinant of cerebral asymmetry in modern Homo sapiens
Article first published online: 18 APR 2013
© 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1288, The Evolution of Human Handedness pages 36–47, June 2013
How to Cite
Priddle, T. H. and Crow, T. J. (2013), The protocadherin 11X/Y (PCDH11X/Y) gene pair as determinant of cerebral asymmetry in modern Homo sapiens. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1288: 36–47. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12042
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 18 APR 2013
- human evolution;
Annett's right-shift theory proposes that human cerebral dominance (the functional and anatomical asymmetry or torque along the antero-posterior axis) and handedness are determined by a single “right-shift” gene. Familial transmission of handedness and specific deviations of cerebral dominance in sex chromosome aneuploidies implicate a locus within an X–Y homologous region of the sex chromosomes. The Xq21.3/Yp11.2 human-specific region of homology includes the protocadherin 11X/Y (PCDH11X/Y) gene pair, which encode cell adhesion molecules subject to accelerated evolution following the separation of the human and chimpanzee lineages six million years ago. PCDH11X and PCDH11Y, differentially regulated by retinoic acid, are highly expressed in the ventricular zone, subplate, and cortical plate of the developing cerebral cortex. Both proteins interact with β-catenin, a protein that plays a role in determining axis formation and regulating cortical size. In this way, the PCDH11X/Y gene pair determines cerebral asymmetry by initiating the right shift in Homo sapiens.