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Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells play a crucial role in the formation of the cerebral cortex, yet the molecules that control their development are largely unknown. Here, we show that Ebf transcription factors are expressed in forebrain signalling centres-the septum, cortical hem and the pallial-subpallial boundary-known to generate CR cells. We identified Ebf2, through fate mapping studies, as a novel marker for cortical hem- and septum-derived CR cells. Loss of Ebf2 in vivo causes a transient decrease in CR cell numbers on the cortical surface due to a migratory defect in the cortical hem, and is accompanied by upregulation of Ebf3 in this and other forebrain territories that produce CR cells, without affecting proper cortical lamination. Accordingly, using in vitro preparations, we demonstrated that both Ebf2 and Ebf3, singly or together, control the migration of CR cells arising in the cortical hem. These findings provide evidence that Ebfs directly regulate CR cell development.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Biol

Publication Date





277 - 289


Animals, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, Cell Differentiation, Cell Lineage, Cell Movement, Cerebral Cortex, Mice, Neurons, Transcription Factors