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Excitatory and inhibitory cell assemblies
in the cerebral cortex

Final Report Summary - CORTICAL ASSEMBLY (Excitatory and inhibitory cell assembliesin the cerebral cortex)

The neural assembly underlying the formation of functional networks in the cerebral cortex is conceivably the most complex biological system that exists. Much of this complexity arises during development through the interaction of different classes of neurons that belong to two general groups: excitatory glutamatergic pyramidal cells and inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric containing (GABAergic) interneurons. In this project, we aimed to investigate the mechanisms controlling the allocation of different classes of interneurons into specific layers of the cortex. We have used a multidisciplinary approach, combining mouse genetics, in vivo functional genomics and electrophysiology to identify genes involved in this process. The main findings of our project are: (i) Interneuron lineages are segregated to deep and superficial layers of the cortex; (ii) Several molecules regulate the entry of MGE interneurons in the developing cortical plate; (iii) Neuronal migration and circuit wiring are mechanistically linked at least for certain classes of interneurons; (iv) The intrinsic electrophysiological properties of some classes of interneurons can be actively tuned in the adult cortex; and (v) Specific classes of interneurons specialised in regulating spatial coding by place cells. Our results have advanced our understanding of the general principles guiding the assembly of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex.