NEURODEVELOPMENT

Modular brain construction

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 78-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6308.78-d

The mammalian cerebellum looks complex on the surface, with a stereotypical pattern of lobules and fissures. Although its subregions all seem to use similar types of cells, tracts coming from elsewhere in the brain target distinct portions of the cerebellum, suggesting that surface formations reflect functional zones. Legué et al., studying developing mouse brains, showed how the proliferation and differentiation of granule cells determines the size of a fully developed lobule. Each lobule gets a different proportion of granule cell progenitors; anchoring centers at the base of developing fissures prohibit sharing. The cerebellum thus develops as a modular construction, which may enable acquisition of new functions during evolution.

Neural Dev. 10.1186/s13064-016-0072-z (2016).

Compartmentalized granule cells feed cerebellar development.

PHOTO: E. LEGUÉ ET AL., NEURAL DEVELOPMENT 11, 17 (8 SEPTEMBER 2016) © 2016 BIOMED CENTRAL LTD.

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