Journal Article Spatio-temporal regulation of the formation of the somatosensory system

Kawasaki, Hiroshi

57 ( 3 )  , pp.193 - 199 , 2015-04-01 , Blackwell Publishing
The somatosensory system in the brain has been widely used for investigating the mechanisms underlying neural circuit formation and developmental neural plasticity. In the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) of rodents, there are discrete cytoarchitectonic units called barrels. Reverse genetic analyses using knockout mice have revealed molecules that control spatial pattern formation of barrels in S1. Glutamatergic receptors such as the NMDA receptor and mGluR5, and molecules related to serotonin such as serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase A are essential for the formation of barrels. In addition to the mechanisms of spatial pattern formation, those regulating the timing of developmental processes were uncovered recently. Barrels are formed soon after the birth of newborn mouse pups from their mothers, and it was shown that the timing of barrel formation was determined by the timing of the birth of mouse pups. The mechanisms downstream of birth were also examined. It would be intriguing to examine if the mechanisms found using the somatosensory system are applicable to other brain regions. © 2015 Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists.

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