Speaker Calendar » 2017 Clare
The mature brain contains billions of neurons that display huge diversity in their function and phenotypes. In the cortex of the brain, projection neurons (PNs) are important units encoding the messages that mediate higher cognitive function, including thought and action. Specific subpopulations of PNs are often unique in their vulnerability to disease, despite the common expression of a causative factor. Such distinct vulnerability highlights the need to advance our understanding of the molecular factors that drive neuronal function and diversity in the healthy adult brain.
Forebrain embryonic zinc finger 2 (FEZF2) is a transcription factor essential for the development of PNs in the cortex. Recent characterisation of PNs in the mature motor cortex (M1) found Fezf2 to be expressed in heterogeneous populations of PNs, suggesting its expression in the mature brain remains crucial to the maintenance of distinct neuronal subtypes. The work presented in this seminar investigates the molecular underpinnings that make neurons unique and assesses the role of Fezf2 in the mature brain.