About this Research Topic
Recent advances in the expression profiling and manipulation of developmental patterning genes and in the visualization of neuronal activity has begun to shed light on how genes direct the patterning and functional development of neuronal circuits in the brainstem and cerebellum. In this research topic, we present new insights into the formation of specific sensory, sensorimotor, and motor regulatory circuits in these vital parts of the vertebrate brain during embryonic, fetal and early postnatal life. Topics include how patterning genes specify neuron identities and regulate axon pathfinding and synaptic targeting, how activity patterns develop and become sculpted into circuit-specific interactions, and how genes and activity may interact to provide ongoing consolidation and plasticity during circuit use and modification. These topics are approached through the use of cutting edge technologies for assessing gene expression and regulation in identified neuron populations, optical mapping of circuit function, behavioral testing, and genetic manipulation to test the role of specific genes and epigenetic mechanisms. In the case of some circuits, several animal models are included, providing a degree of comparative analysis that also sheds light on the evolutionary underpinnings governing the molecular genetics of neuronal circuit formation.
Animal models included:
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