During the development of the cerebral cortex, the majority of cortical neurons are generated in the ventricular zone (VZ) facing the lateral ventricle and then migrate toward the pial surface to form the highly organized 6-layered cerebral cortex. Detailed profiles of these processes and their molecular mechanisms had been largely unknown because of the absence of an efficient assay system. The in vivo electroporation system was initially devised for use within chick embryos (Funahashi et al., 1999; Itasaki et al., 1999; Momose et al., 1999; Muramatsu et al., 1997), and we and other groups have used that system as a basis for developing an in utero electroporation system, which allows plasmid DNA to be introduced into cortical progenitor cells in developing mouse embryos in the uterus (Fukuchi-Shimogori and Grove, 2001; Saito and Nakatsuji, 2001; Tabata and Nakajima, 2001; Takahashi et al., 2002). In utero electroporation of other sites in the brain, including the hippocampus (Navarro-Quiroga et al., 2007), cerebral basal ganglia (Borrell et al., 2005; Nakahira et al., 2006), cortical hem (Takiguchi-Hayashi et al., 2004), and dorsal thalamus (Bonnin et al., 2007), has recently been reported. Introducing green fluorescent protein (GFP) enables the entire processes of migration and layer formation to be visualized (Ajioka and Nakajima, 2005; Sasaki et al., 2008; Tabata and Nakajima, 2002, 2003), and the role of any gene involved in these processes can be easily assessed by overexpressing the proteins or their mutants (Ohshima et al., 2007), or by knocking down the genes by the RNA interference technique (Bai et al., 2003). Furthermore, the Tet-On/Off system and/or other plasmid- vector-based technologies will expand the potential of the analyses. In this section we review the principles and methods of gene transfer into the cortical wall of mouse embryos by means of the in utero electroporation system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)