Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


RU Laboratory

Hatten Laboratory


cerebral cortex, preplate neurons, subplate neurons, Cajal-Retzius neurons


The preplate is a transient layer of the developing cerebral cortex which is comprised of the earliest generated cortical neurons. Preplate neurons are a heterogenous population of future Cajal-Retzius neurons and future subplate neurons, which are derived from multiple sources of progenitors. During the formation of the cortical layers, the preplate is split into an upper marginal zone and the lower subplate layer by the radial migration of projection neurons from the cortical ventricular zone. Cajal-Retzius and subplate neurons have important developmental functions in regulating radial migration and in pioneering corticofugal projections. The genetic mechanisms of preplate neuron specification are not well understood, and few markers exist to identify subpopulations of the preplate. The aim of this thesis is to functionally and molecularly characterize neuronal subpopulations of the mouse preplate. Using transgenic mice expressing EGFP in distinct preplate subpopulations, I applied birthdating analyses and live imaging to describe the proliferative and migratory characteristics of subpopulations of Cajal-Retzius and subplate neurons. Purified subpopulations were used in a gene expression array analysis to define mRNAs differentially expressed between subpopulations. New markers for a subpopulation of Cajal-Retzius neurons were identified, as well as novel markers for future subplate neurons, which will be of use in the study of these cells. These data may yield insight into genetic and cellular mechanisms of preplate differentiation and development, and identify novel genes with potential roles in preplate neuron functions.


A thesis presented to the faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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