Research Topic

Biogeography of the Cortex: Cell-Type Diversity Across Cortical Regions and its Functional Implications

About this Research Topic

The mammalian cerebral cortex is the seat of cognitive processes. Its laminar organization and the diversity of its neuronal population has fascinated neuroscientist ever since Ramon y Cajal defined pyramidal neurons as “the butterflies of the soul”.
For decades, research has focused on defining shared structural and functional principles of the cortex, describing several canonical circuits. However, physiological studies have shown functional specializations across cortical areas, and more recent advances in defining neuronal types have highlighted regional variations in the number of specific cell-types or in the presence of specialized neurons across cortical regions and species.

Inhibitory cell-types have been shown to be differentially distributed across cortical regions and even within the same cortical area defining functional domains. Moreover, comparative work has revealed the existence of specialized inhibitory types in the primates’ cortex.

New knowledge on the distribution of cell-types across cortical regions will greatly advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the different functions and dynamics of cortical regions.

This Research Topic aims to explore the distribution and functional implications of cell-types across cortical regions and variability across species and corresponding evolutionary needs.

We will tackle this problem by adopting developmental, physiological, and evolutionary approaches to unveil the roots of cellular diversification across the cortical mantle, the circuits in which cell-types are involved, and the computational or behavioral relevance of this diversity.

To this end, we welcome studies on all vertebrate models, investigating the diversity of cortical (pallial) neurons, dynamics of migration studies through development, helping to untangle the developmental origin of this diversity, and studies exploring the cellular and circuit underpinnings of structural and functional differences across cortical regions

To address this biological question, we welcome articles contributing on the following, but not limited to, themes:

• Neuroanatomical studies of the distribution of cell-types across cortical regions in any vertebrate species
• Developmental and evolutionary origin of region-specific cell-types in the cortex
• Methods and novel technologies to trace, quantify and characterize cell types at a cortical layer and cortical region level – from a dynamic and functional perspective – genetic and viral tracing approaches
• Cross-species comparison across cell types - functionality
• Connectivity studies showing canonical or area-specific circuits with cell-type specificity
In vivo and in vitro evidence supporting electrophysiological properties’ variation – localization dependent


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.

The mammalian cerebral cortex is the seat of cognitive processes. Its laminar organization and the diversity of its neuronal population has fascinated neuroscientist ever since Ramon y Cajal defined pyramidal neurons as “the butterflies of the soul”.
For decades, research has focused on defining shared structural and functional principles of the cortex, describing several canonical circuits. However, physiological studies have shown functional specializations across cortical areas, and more recent advances in defining neuronal types have highlighted regional variations in the number of specific cell-types or in the presence of specialized neurons across cortical regions and species.

Inhibitory cell-types have been shown to be differentially distributed across cortical regions and even within the same cortical area defining functional domains. Moreover, comparative work has revealed the existence of specialized inhibitory types in the primates’ cortex.

New knowledge on the distribution of cell-types across cortical regions will greatly advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the different functions and dynamics of cortical regions.

This Research Topic aims to explore the distribution and functional implications of cell-types across cortical regions and variability across species and corresponding evolutionary needs.

We will tackle this problem by adopting developmental, physiological, and evolutionary approaches to unveil the roots of cellular diversification across the cortical mantle, the circuits in which cell-types are involved, and the computational or behavioral relevance of this diversity.

To this end, we welcome studies on all vertebrate models, investigating the diversity of cortical (pallial) neurons, dynamics of migration studies through development, helping to untangle the developmental origin of this diversity, and studies exploring the cellular and circuit underpinnings of structural and functional differences across cortical regions

To address this biological question, we welcome articles contributing on the following, but not limited to, themes:

• Neuroanatomical studies of the distribution of cell-types across cortical regions in any vertebrate species
• Developmental and evolutionary origin of region-specific cell-types in the cortex
• Methods and novel technologies to trace, quantify and characterize cell types at a cortical layer and cortical region level – from a dynamic and functional perspective – genetic and viral tracing approaches
• Cross-species comparison across cell types - functionality
• Connectivity studies showing canonical or area-specific circuits with cell-type specificity
In vivo and in vitro evidence supporting electrophysiological properties’ variation – localization dependent


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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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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