Gli3 Controls Subplate Formation and Growth of Cortical Axons

Dario Magnani, Kerstin Hasenpusch-Theil, Thomas Theil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The formation of a functional cortical circuitry requires the coordinated growth of cortical axons to their target areas. While the mechanisms guiding cortical axons to their targets have extensively been studied, very little is known about the processes which promote their growth in vivo. Gli3 encodes a zinc finger transcription factor which is expressed in cortical progenitor cells and has crucial roles in cortical development. Here, we characterize the Gli3 compound mutant Gli3(Xt/Pdn), which largely lacks Neurofilament(+) fibers in the rostral and intermediate neocortex. DiI labeling and Golli-τGFP immunofluorescence indicate that Gli3(Xt/Pdn) cortical neurons form short and stunted axons. Using transplantation experiments we demonstrate that this axon growth defect is primarily caused by a nonpermissive cortical environment. Furthermore, in Emx1Cre;Gli3(Pdn/fl) conditional mutants, which mimic the reduction of Gli3 expression in the dorsal telencephalon of Gli3(Xt/Pdn) embryos, the growth of cortical axons is not impaired, suggesting that Gli3 controls this process early in telencephalic development. In contrast to cortical plate neurons, Gli3(Xt/Pdn) embryos largely lack subplate (SP) neurons which normally pioneer cortical projections. Collectively, these findings show that Gli3 specifies a cortical environment permissive to the growth of cortical axons at the progenitor level by controlling the formation of SP neurons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2542-2551
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number11
Early online date17 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • axon growth
  • cerebral cortex patterning
  • Gli3
  • subplate


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