In utero electroporation methods in the study of cerebral cortical development
Martínez-Garay I., García-Moreno F., Vasistha N., Marques-Smith A., Molnár Z.
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016. Research in the field of cortical development has benefited from technical advances in recent years, and tools are now available to label, monitor, and modulate cohorts of cerebral cortical neurons using in vivo approaches. Substantial populations of cerebral cortical neurons are generated in a specific sequence by the radial glia progenitors that line the ventricular surface during development. These radial progenitors self-renew and generate intermediate progenitors or neurons in a precisely choreographed fashion. Electroporation or electropermeabilization is a method that uses electric pulses to deliver molecules into cells and tissues. The in utero electroporation method has enabled the field to administer plasmids to these neural progenitors, allowing temporal and cell type-specific control for the manipulation of gene expression. For this reason, in utero electroporation has become a central technique in the study of key aspects of neural development, such as progenitor proliferation, neurogenesis, neuronal migration, and circuit formation. This method has also facilitated the exploitation of cell lineage and optogenetic techniques in various species from chick to gyrencephalic higher mammals. This chapter provides a description of the method and gives some examples for its utility in the study of cerebral cortical development and evolution.