A mutually stimulating loop involving Emx2 and canonical Wnt signalling specifically promotes expansion of occipital cortex and hippocampus

L. Muzio, J. M. Soria, M. Pannese, S. Piccolo, A. Mallamaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The correct size of the different areas composing the mature cerebral cortex depends on the proper early allocation of cortical progenitors to their distinctive areal fates, as well as on appropriate subsequent tuning of their area-specific proliferation-differentiation profiles. Whereas much is known about the genetics of the former process, the molecular mechanisms regulating proliferation and differentiation rates within distinctive cortical proto-areas are still largely obscure. Here we show that a mutual stimulating loop, involving Emx2 and canonical Wnt signalling, specifically promotes expansion of the occipito-hippocampal anlage. Collapse of this loop occurring in Emx2 -/- mutants leads progenitors within this region to slow down DNA synthesis and exit prematurely from the cell cycle, due to misregulation of cell cycle-, proneural- and lateral inhibition-molecular machineries, and eventually results in dramatic and selective size-reduction of occipital cortex and hippocampus. Reactivation of canonical Wnt signalling in the same mutants rescues a subset of molecular abnormalities and corrects differentiation rates of occipito-hippocampal progenitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2028
Number of pages8
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005



  • Areal sizing
  • Cell cycle genes
  • Emx2
  • Proneural genes
  • Wnt signalling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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