Expression of p73 and Reelin in the Developing Human Cortex

Gundela Meyer, Carlos Gustavo Perez-Garcia, Hajnalka Abraham, Daniel Caput

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Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells of the developing neocortex secrete Reelin (Reln), a glycoprotein involved in neuronal migration. CR cells selectively express p73, a p53 family member implicated in cell survival and apoptosis. Immunocytochemistry in prenatal human telencephalon reveals a complex sequence of migration waves of p73- and Reln-immunoreactive (IR) neurons into the cortical marginal zone (MZ). At early preplate stages, p73/Reln-IR cells arise in distinct sectors of the telencephalon, including cortical primordium and ganglionic eminences. After the appearance of the cortical plate, further p73/Reln-IR cells originate in the medial periolfactory forebrain. In addition, p73 marks a novel cell population that appears at the choroid-cortical junction or cortical hem before the emergence of the dorsal hippocampus. A pronounced mediolateral gradient in the density of p73/Reln-IR neurons in the neocortical MZ at 8 gestational weeks suggests that a subset of CR cells migrate tangentially from cortical hem and taenia tecta into neocortical territory. This hypothesis is supported by the absence of p73-transcripts in prospective neocortex of p73-/-mice at embryonic day 12 (E12), whereas they are present in cortical hem and taenia tecta. In the p73-/- preplate, Reln is faintly expressed in a calretinin-positive cell population, not present in this form in the E12 wild-type cortex. At P2, Reln-IR CR cells are undetectable in the p73-/- cortex, whereas Reln-expression in interneurons is unchanged. Our results point to a close association between p73 and Reln in CR cells of the developing neocortex, with a partial dissociation in early preplate and basal telencephalon, and to a p73-mediated role of the cortical hem in neocortical development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4973-4986
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2002



  • Basal telencephalon
  • Cajal-Retzius cells
  • Cortical hem
  • Reelin
  • Taenia tecta
  • p73-/- mutant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Meyer, G., Perez-Garcia, C. G., Abraham, H., & Caput, D. (2002). Expression of p73 and Reelin in the Developing Human Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 22(12), 4973-4986.