The evolution of basal progenitors in the developing non-mammalian brain

Tadashi Nomura, Chiaki Ohtaka-Maruyama, Wataru Yamashita, Yoshio Wakamatsu, Yasunori Murakami, Federico Calegari, Kunihiro Suzuki, Hitoshi Gotoh, Katsuhiko Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The amplification of distinct neural stem/progenitor cell subtypes during embryogenesis is essential for the intricate brain structures present in various vertebrate species. For example, in both mammals and birds, proliferative neuronal progenitors transiently appear on the basal side of the ventricular zone of the telencephalon (basal progenitors), where they contribute to the enlargement of the neocortex and its homologous structures. In placental mammals, this proliferative cell population can be subdivided into several groups that include Tbr2+ intermediate progenitors and basal radial glial cells (bRGs). Here,we report that basal progenitors in the developing avian pallium show unique morphological and molecular characteristics that resemble the characteristics of bRGs, a progenitor population that is abundant in gyrencephalic mammalian neocortex. Manipulation of LGN (Leu-Gly-Asn repeat-enriched protein) and Cdk4/cyclin D1, both essential regulators of neural progenitor dynamics, revealed that basal progenitors and Tbr2+ cells are distinct cell lineages in the developing avian telencephalon. Furthermore, we identified a small population of subapical mitotic cells in the developing brains of a wide variety of amniotes and amphibians. Our results suggest that unique progenitor subtypes are amplified in mammalian and avian lineages by modifying common mechanisms of neural stem/progenitor regulation during amniote brain evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • Amniote
  • Axolotl
  • Basal progenitor
  • Chicken
  • Eomes
  • Evolution
  • Gpsm2
  • Mouse
  • Opossum
  • Pallium
  • Tbr2
  • Turtle
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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