The cortex of the brain has a specific arrangement of specific types of neurons that is essential for its advanced functions. The first cells of cortex produced in the embryo, the Cajal-Retzius cells, migrate on the surface of the brain and from there orchestrate the positioning of the rest of the cortical neurons. We have identified a gene expressed by Cajal-Retzius cells and hypothesize that it is essential for their migration and function, and hence for proper formation of the cortex. We have generated mice lacking this gene and will examine them to test these and other hypotheses.
Jaime García-Añoveros, Ph.D.