Research Topic

The Extracellular Environment in Controlling Neuronal Migration During Neocortical Development

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In the developing brain, new neurons are generated at specific locations before migrating to their final destination where they function. The six layers of the cerebral cortex are composed of neurons that are born in different regions but are subsequently organized according to their birth dating. Abnormal ...

In the developing brain, new neurons are generated at specific locations before migrating to their final destination where they function. The six layers of the cerebral cortex are composed of neurons that are born in different regions but are subsequently organized according to their birth dating. Abnormal neuronal migration during development causes abnormal structure and function of the neocortex, resulting in various disorders such as epilepsy and neurological disability. Understanding the precise mechanisms underlying neuronal migration is a fundamental basis for understanding not only neocortical development but also pathophysiological mechanisms underpinning developmental neurological disorders.

During migration, neurons sense and respond to a broad range of extracellular environmental signals, including biochemical and mechanical cues, that serve as scaffolds to guide and support them. Analyses based on genetics and molecular techniques have identified gene networks that precisely control biochemical microenvironments during neocortical development, including extracellular matrix proteins, surface proteins of contacting cells, and gradients of guidance cues. More recently, live imaging, physical measurement and manipulation techniques such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) have revealed the essential role of the mechanical environment, such as tissue stiffness, dynamic forces and scaffolds, in neuronal migration during development.

The specific aim of this Research Topic is to understand how extracellular environments contribute to various modes of neuronal migration in both physiological and pathological conditions of different multi-cellular organisms. Particular subtopics include, but are not limited to:

- Molecular mechanisms underlying the influence of extracellular biochemical cues on neuronal migration
- Mechanotransduction signalling pathways activated in migration neurons
- Intercellular communication between migrating neurons and surrounding cells

We welcome contributions of both reviews and original research articles on the regulatory mechanisms of extracellular environment-related neuronal migration during neocortical development. Articles on the advances in methodologies to observe/measure/manipulate extracellular signals in living tissue or those in development of mathematical models are also welcomed.


Keywords: Neuronal Migration, Extracellular Environment, Development, Mammalian Neocortex, Cellular Interactions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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