PerspectiveNeuroscience

Neuronal Birth to Cortical Circuitry

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Science  31 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6136, pp. 1058-1059
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235778

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Summary

Neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and autism, likely involve dysfunction in cerebral cortical microcircuits. Although some of this dysfunction probably results from disruptions near the time of symptom onset, some also likely evolves from abnormalities that occurred earlier during cortical neuron development. However, a major challenge has been to link microcircuitry dysfunction to a disruption in the developmental trajectories of constituent neuronal subtypes. A recent paper in Science by Taniguchi et al. (1) lays crucial groundwork for meeting this challenge. They describe a method for reliably labeling a distinct subtype of cortical neuron, the chandelier interneuron, from its genesis through postnatal development. Their work advances understanding of cortical microcircuitry development, and highlights the potential challenges of using the current genetic armamentarium to label increasingly specific subsets of cortical neurons.