During mammalian cerebral corticogenesis, progenitor cells become progressively restricted in the types of neurons they can produce. The molecular mechanism that determines earlier versus later born neuron fate is unknown. We demonstrate here that the generation of the earliest born neurons, the Cajal-Retzius cells, is suppressed by the telencephalic transcription factor Foxg1. In Foxg1 null mutants, we observed an excess of Cajal-Retzius neuron production in the cortex. By conditionally inactivating Foxg1 in cortical progenitors that normally produce deep-layer cortical neurons, we demonstrate that Foxg1 is constitutively required to suppress Cajal-Retzius cell fate. Hence, the competence to generate the earliest born neurons during later cortical development is actively suppressed but not lost.
ASJC Scopus subject areas