CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR ORGANIZATION OF THE VISUAL CORTEX

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

The overall goal of this project is to understand the molecular
mechanisms by which the mature visual cortex is formed from a relatively
simple proliferative neuroepithelium. To achieve this goal, it is
proposed to identify and study a number of genes and gene products that
may regulate or mark the formation of cytoarchitectonic areas and
individual cell types.

The neurons of the preplate are clearly an important component of overall
cortical development. One of the specific aims of this proposal is to
complete the biochemical characterization of a molecule whose expression
in the developing nervous system is restricted to a subpopulation of
subplate neurons. Experiments are also proposed to determine whether
expression of this molecule is linked to cell death in this layer.

To characterize further the formation of cell types in both preplate and
cortical plate, specific monoclonal antibodies will be produced against
partially purified immunogens consisting of subplate cells or
microdissected layers of adult visual cortex. In addition the spatial
and temporal distribution of a series of molecules involved the
production and action of cGMP will be measured by in situ hybridization.
These molecules will be studied because several of them have been
implicated in events of cortical development and plasticity.

Delineation of cortical areas and formation of cortical cell types is
almost certainly regulated by differential expression of transcription
factors. Following up on preliminary experiments, it is proposed to
carry out a systematic search for members of the POU-domain and
helix-loop-helix gene families that show differential patterns of
expression either in the proliferative epithelium or in its postmitatic
derivatives.

In a final specific aim it is proposed to study the expression of
selected molecules in a series of simplified culture systems. These will
allow the identification of properties of cortical assembly that are
intrinsic to particular cell types and of molecules whose expression or
activity can be modulated by synaptic contacts.

By focussing on selected topics within a broad developmental framework
this proposal will allow a significant increase in our understanding of
the molecular mechanisms of cortical development. The results from this
project will have a substantial impact in a number of health-related
issues including the response of visual cortex to abnormal visual input
and problems associated with many developmental brain abnormalities.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date12/31/899/29/93

Funding

  • National Eye Institute
  • National Eye Institute
  • National Eye Institute
  • National Eye Institute
  • National Eye Institute

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