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Our analyses to date demonstrate that at least with regard to broad subclass, specification of cortical interneurons is established in the progenitor zones. However the extent to which an interneuron's subsequent interactions with its environment further shape its identity remains an open question. Indeed, although the laminar fate of cortical interneurons is predicted by their birthdate, we as yet see little evidence that cortical interneurons derived at a given position within the subpallium are destined to occupy a precise cortical area. If one then imagines that a particular FS basket cell might stochastically "choose" to reside in layer four of the visual cortex or layer five of motor cortex, one can see significant pressure for the precise wiring of a given cortical interneuron to be shaped by its environment. At present, I suspect that cortical interneurons while relegated to a broad class, such as Martinotti cell or basket cell, retain significant plasticity to adapt to cues within the region of cortex to which they ultimately contribute. I envision that their specification beyond the adoption of a particular shape and firing pattern, amounts to a "look up table" of hardwired responses that dictate how they will react to the particular cues they might encounter during their migration and integration into the developing cortex.

Related Publications

Butt, S., J., B., Fuccillo, M., Nery, S., Noctor, S., Kriegstein, A., Corbin, J., G. and Fishell, G. The Temporal and Spatial Origins of Cortical Interneurons predicts their Physiological Subtype. Neuron 2005 48, 591-604.

Miyoshi, G., Butt, S.J.B., Takebayashi, H. and Fishell, G. Physiologically distinct temporal cohorts of cortical interneurons arise from telencephalic Olig2-expressing precursors. Journal of Neuroscience, 2007, 27:7786 -7987.

Batista-Brito, R, Close, J, Machold, R, Ekker, M and Fishell, G. The distinct temporal origins of olfactory bulb interneuron subtypes. (submitted).

Batista-Brito R and Fishell G. The developmental integration of cortical interneurons into a functional network.Curr Top Dev Biol. 2009;87:81-118.

Lee, S-H., Hjerling-Leffler, J., Zagha, E., Fishell, G. and Rudy, B. The largest group of superficial neocortical GABAergic interneurons expresses ionotropic serotonin receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010, 30: 16796-16808.

De Marco-Garcia, N.V., Karayannis, T., and Fishell, G. Neuronal activity is required for the development of specific cortical interneuron subtypes. Nature, 2011 (epub ahead of print).