Segregation and coactivation of developing neocortical layer 1 neurons

Takeshi Soda, Ryo Nakashima, Dai Watanabe, Kazunori Nakajima, Ira Pastan, Shigetada Nakanishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Layer 1 in the developing cerebral cortex is populated by two basic neuronal cell types, Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells and non-CR cells. We generated transgenic mice in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) was driven by the promoter of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 and expressed specifically in CR cells during cortical development. On the basis of the precise identification of CR cells with GFP fluorescence, we pursued developmental changes and synaptic mechanisms of both CR and non-CR cells during the postnatal period. Immunostaining in combination with GFP fluorescence imaging showed that GFP and reelin, a protein involved in corticogenesis, completely overlap in CR cells at postnatal day 0. At the subsequent postnatal stage, reelin-positive neurons are segregated and categorized into GFP-positive/GABA-negative CR cells and GFP-negative/GABA-positive non-CR cells. Individual and simultaneous whole-cell recordings of CR and non-CR cells in developing cerebral slices revealed that spontaneous and electrically evoked postsynaptic currents (sPSCs and ePSCs) measured in CR and non-CR cells are differentially mediated by GABAA receptors versus GABAA, AMPA, and NMDA receptors, respectively. Furthermore, CR and non-CR cells show synchronized repetitive barrages of sPSCs that reflect a network-driven activity in the developing cerebral cortex. These findings imply that the layer 1 neurons dynamically change and play a distinct and integral role in the postnatal developing neocortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6272-6279
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul 16


  • Cajal-Retzius cell
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Layer 1
  • Neocortex
  • Neural circuit
  • Reelin
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Transgenic mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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