During prenatal development, Cajal Retzius cells (CRs) populate the outer-most layer of the developing mammalian neocortex (layer 1, L1). CRs have been shown to be synaptically integrated in the local circuit and to mainly receive inputs from GABAergic interneurons. Over the course of the first two postnatal weeks the number of CRs decreases. Utilizing anatomical, functional and behavioral approaches our project aims to reveal how the transient population of CRs contributes to building the mature neocortical somatosensory circuit and how their cell death assists in the proper formation and function of the circuit.
The project addresses the general question how the brain adapts its elements over the course of development for optimal sensory processing and how perturbation of the normal progression of transient developmental events can lead to deficits in sensory processing and learning.
Principal investigators: Theofanis Karayannis, Fritjof Helmchen
PhD student: Angeliki Damilou