Stabilizing cell-type ratios

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1210
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6470.1210-c

Brain development depends both on having enough neurons and on those neurons being connected in the right ways. Willett et al. found that in mice, disruption of excitatory neurons of the cerebellar nuclei, either by inactivating genes encoding specific transcription factors or by dosing the neurons with diptheria toxin, resulted in an undersized cerebellum. The size disparity was a result of fewer downstream connected cells, including granule cells, Purkinje cells, and interneurons. Despite the cerebellum having too few cells, the ratio of cell types stayed normal. Thus, the number of excitatory cerebellar nuclei neurons defines survival of a matched set of Purkinje cells. The correct ratios of cells needed to establish functional circuits are maintained by a mix of strategies that regulate both proliferation and survival of neurons.

eLife 8, e50617 (2019).

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