Molecular Mechanisms of Thalamus Development
Thalamus, Connectivity, Evolution
Diencephalon, contains developing thalamus and hypothalamus, make direct connection to the neocortex, hippocampus and amygdala, respectively, and known to function to maintain higher order cognition and homeostasis. In later developmental time point such as circuit formation stage, it is likely that input from thalamus and hypothalamus influence postsynaptic neurons and change their gene expression, cell survival and dendrite formation by neuronal activity. To understand how thalamus and hypothalamus can control correct circuit formation and control animals behavior, we are currently focusing on following three projects. First, we use mouse somatosensory barrel cortex which development is controlled by thalamic axon innervation, to reveal molecular mechanism of postsynaptic neuron development. Next, we study molecular mechanism of brain dysfunction in developing hypothalamus, which is triggered by maternal separation. At last, we use common marmoset brain to test gene expression, which is different with mouse cortex, thalamus and hypothalamus to understand mechanism of higher function brain evolution.
In utero electroporation-mediated gene transfer system.
Embryos are visualized through the uterus and plasmid DNA was injected into the left cerebral ventricle of each embryo through a glass capillary. A fine tungsten negative electrode and a platinum positive electrode were inserted into the left and right hemispheres, respectively, and a series of three square-wave current pulses were delivered, resulting in gene transfection into the medial wall of the left hemisphere. After 24 hours the electroporation was performed, localized ectopic gene expression is shown only on one side of the brain (right bottom).
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