Advances in experimental medicine and biology

Novel functions of core cell cycle regulators in neuronal migration.

PMID 24243100


The cerebral cortex is one of the most intricate regions of the brain, which required elaborated cell migration patterns for its development. Experimental observations show that projection neurons migrate radially within the cortical wall, whereas interneurons migrate along multiple tangential paths to reach the developing cortex. Tight regulation of the cell migration processes ensures proper positioning and functional integration of neurons to specific cerebral cortical circuits. Disruption of neuronal migration often lead to cortical dysfunction and/or malformation associated with neurological disorders. Unveiling the molecular control of neuronal migration is thus fundamental to understand the physiological or pathological development of the cerebral cortex. Generation of functional cortical neurons is a complex and stratified process that relies on decision of neural progenitors to leave the cell cycle and generate neurons that migrate and differentiate to reach their final position in the cortical wall. Although accumulating work shed some light on the molecular control of neuronal migration, we currently do not have a comprehensive understanding of how cell cycle exit and migration/differentiation are coordinated at the molecular level. The current chapter tends to lift the veil on this issue by discussing how core cell cycle regulators, and in particular p27(Kip1) acts as a multifunctional protein to control critical steps of neuronal migration through activities that go far beyond cell cycle regulation.

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