Novel markers reveal subpopulations of subplate neurons in the murine cerebral cortex.
The subplate lays the foundation of the developing cerebral cortex, and abnormalities have been suggested to contribute to various brain developmental disorders. The causal relationship between cellular pathologies and cognitive disorders remains unclear, and therefore, a better understanding of the role of subplate cells in cortical development is essential. Only by determining the molecular taxonomy of this diverse class of neurons can we identify the subpopulations that may contribute differentially to cortical development. We identified novel markers for murine subplate cells by comparing gene expression of subplate and layer 6 of primary visual and somatosensory cortical areas of postnatal day (P)8 old mice using a microarray-based approach. We examined the utility of these markers in well-characterized mutants (reeler, scrambler, and p35-KO) where the subplate is displaced in relation to the cortical plate. In situ hybridization or immunohistochemistry confirmed subplate-selective expression of complexin 3, connective tissue growth factor, nuclear receptor-related 1/Nr4a2, and monooxygenase Dbh-like 1 while transmembrane protein 163 also had additional expression in layer 5, and DOPA decarboxylase was also present in the white matter. Localization of marker-positive cells in the reeler and p35-KO cortices suggests different subpopulations of subplate cells. These new markers open up possibilities for further identification of subplate subpopulations in research and in neuropathological diagnosis.