Brains and Brawn: Building a Neuronal Network

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strands of neurons looking like spokes on a wheel

Ellen DeGennaro

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strands of neurons looking like spokes on a wheel

Ellen M. DeGennaro, Christopher A. Walsh
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology & Boston Children’s Hospital

Like children in gym class, young brain cells pull themselves up a rope-like fiber to form a neuronal network. Near the hollow, fluid-filled ventricle (lower left) teardrop-shaped neurons are undifferentiated, having recently split off from their mother cells.

As they migrate outward toward the cortical plate, leapfrogging over one another, they mature and anchor near the pial surface (blue/green) to assume their final positions in the developing brain.

Walsh Lab researchers created this architectural map to better understand how a cell’s position and lineage influence its fate.