Hierarchical clustering of gene expression patterns in the Eomes + lineage of excitatory neurons during early neocortical development
1 Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
2 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
3 Department of Pathology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago IL, 60611, USA
4 Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 3295 Weiskotten Hall, 750 E, Adams St. Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:90 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-90Published: 1 August 2012
Cortical neurons display dynamic patterns of gene expression during the coincident processes of differentiation and migration through the developing cerebrum. To identify genes selectively expressed by the Eomes + (Tbr2) lineage of excitatory cortical neurons, GFP-expressing cells from Tg(Eomes::eGFP) Gsat embryos were isolated to > 99% purity and profiled.
We report the identification, validation and spatial grouping of genes selectively expressed within the Eomes + cortical excitatory neuron lineage during early cortical development. In these neurons 475 genes were expressed ≥ 3-fold, and 534 genes ≤ 3-fold, compared to the reference population of neuronal precursors. Of the up-regulated genes, 328 were represented at the Genepaint in situ hybridization database and 317 (97%) were validated as having spatial expression patterns consistent with the lineage of differentiating excitatory neurons. A novel approach for quantifying in situ hybridization patterns (QISP) across the cerebral wall was developed that allowed the hierarchical clustering of genes into putative co-regulated groups. Forty four candidate genes were identified that show spatial expression with Intermediate Precursor Cells, 49 candidate genes show spatial expression with Multipolar Neurons, while the remaining 224 genes achieved peak expression in the developing cortical plate.
This analysis of differentiating excitatory neurons revealed the expression patterns of 37 transcription factors, many chemotropic signaling molecules (including the Semaphorin, Netrin and Slit signaling pathways), and unexpected evidence for non-canonical neurotransmitter signaling and changes in mechanisms of glucose metabolism. Over half of the 317 identified genes are associated with neuronal disease making these findings a valuable resource for studies of neurological development and disease.