Research Summary

Exploring the epistasis between early cortical development control genes

Cerebral cortex is the most complex component of mammalian brain both in terms of its structure and function. Proper patterning of cortical regions is a critical developmental event; it forms the basis for sensory perception, control of our movements, and mediates our behavior and emotions. Any interruption in the developmental processes can lead to diseases such as schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy which can have profound impact on life of an individual. Understanding the mechanisms that control the development of cortical areas, has been a major challenge in neurobiology.

Proper development of different regions of the cortex is achieved by expression of region-specific codes of transcription factors, which subsequently leads to neurogenesis of the diversity of cell types in different regions, establishes boundaries and maintains the identities of specific areas. In the developing cerebral cortex, transcription factors; Lhx2, Pax6 and Foxg1 each known to regulate early steps in cortical specification. However their epistatic interactive networks are unknown. I aim to understand how these key regulators of cortical patterning interact with each other. Loss of function, gain of function and molecular approaches will be used to understand these interactions by identifying common target genes of these transcription factors. Understanding this would increase our basic knowledge about developmental events in normal condition and underlying mechanisms of disease conditions which in future may aid in management and genetic testing to individual patients and their families.