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A cross-modal genetic framework for the development and plasticity of sensory pathways

Published in Nature. 2016, vol. 538, no. 7623, p. 96-98
Abstract Modality-specific sensory inputs from individual sense organs are processed in parallel in distinct areas of the neocortex. For each sensory modality, input follows a cortico-thalamo-cortical loop in which a 'first-order' exteroceptive thalamic nucleus sends peripheral input to the primary sensory cortex, which projects back to a 'higher order' thalamic nucleus that targets a secondary sensory cortex. This conserved circuit motif raises the possibility that shared genetic programs exist across sensory modalities. Here we report that, despite their association with distinct sensory modalities, first-order nuclei in mice are genetically homologous across somatosensory, visual, and auditory pathways, as are higher order nuclei. We further reveal peripheral input-dependent control over the transcriptional identity and connectivity of first-order nuclei by showing that input ablation leads to induction of higher-order-type transcriptional programs and rewiring of higher-order-directed descending cortical input to deprived first-order nuclei. These findings uncover an input-dependent genetic logic for the design and plasticity of sensory pathways, in which conserved developmental programs lead to conserved circuit motifs across sensory modalities.
PMID: 27669022
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Research groups Neurobiologie développementale et plasticité (880)
Mécanismes cellulaires de la dépendance et de l'addiction (520)
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FRANGEUL, Laura et al. A cross-modal genetic framework for the development and plasticity of sensory pathways. In: Nature, 2016, vol. 538, n° 7623, p. 96-98. doi: 10.1038/nature19770 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:94162

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Deposited on : 2017-05-11

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