Genetics and Development of the Cerebral Cortex

Research center

15 rue Hélène Brion
75205 Paris
Giuseppe Baldacci


Université Paris Diderot


UMR 7592
Available to host a PhD student


Griveau, A., Borello, U. and Pierani, A. Neural migration and brain patterning. Comprehensive Developmental Neuroscience (2012), P. Rakic and J. Rubenstein Editors, Elsevier, in press.

Teissier A., Waclaw R.R., Griveau A., Campbell K. and Pierani A. Tangentially migrating transient glutamatergic neurons control neurogenesis and maintenance of cerebral cortical progenitor pools. Cerebral Cortex (2011), Jun 10 [Epub ahead of print]. IF 7.427

Causeret F., Ensini M., Teissier A., Kessaris N., Richardson W. D., Lucas de Couville T. and Pierani A. Dbx1-expressing cells are necessary for the survival of the mammalian anterior neural and craniofacial structures. PLoS One (2011), 6(4), e19367. IF 4.383

Bouvier J., Thoby-Brisson M., Renier N., Dubreuil V., Ericson J., Pierani A., Chédotal A. and Fortin G. Hindbrain Interneurons and Axon Guidance Signalling Critical for Breathing. Nature Neuroscience (2010) 13, 1066-1074. IF 16.617

Teissier A., Griveau A., Vigier L., Piolot T., Borello U. and Pierani A. A novel transient glutamatergic population migrating from the pallial-subpallial boundary contributes to neocortical development. Journal Neuroscience (2010), 30, 10563-10574. IF 7.930

Fields of research

Neurogenetics / neurodevelopment

Research Theme

The neocortex represents the brain structure that has been subjected to a major expansion in its relative size and complexity during mammalian evolution. Cognitive functions depend on the accurate construction of complex neural circuits which begin early during development through a precise orchestration between proliferation of progenitors, spatio-temporal generation of distinct cell types and control of their migration and settling position. Growing evidence supports the notion that the aetiology of numerous neurological and psychiatric illnesses has to be found in alterations of developmental processes.The aim of our team is to understand the molecular mechanisms which coordinate growth and spatial patterning in the developing cerebral cortex. In particular, we study how Dbx1+ progenitors at the borders of the pallium have contributed to neocortical evolution. Using mouse genetics we have shown that these progenitors give rise to highly migratory cells which will distribute over long distances from their generation site and which will be present only for a transient period during development. We demonstrated that the presence of Dbx1-derived transient neurons is crucial for cortical development and for the establishment of functional cortical networks. Dbx1-derived Cajal-Retzius subtypes in layer I and transient neurons of the cortical plate are involved in tangential (early regionalization and formation of cortical areas) and radial growth of the neocortex, respectively, by controlling cortical progenitors divisions in a non-cell-autonomous manner, and therefore acting as “mobile signaling units”.Our work points towards a novel general strategy for long-range patterning in large structures, in addition to passive diffusion of morphogens, via migration of signaling cells. By coupling studies on the role of transient neurons in mice and primates we aim at bridging developmental neuroscience with evolution and pathology in humans.

Membres de l'équipe

Yoko Yang Ja ARAI PARK
Mélissa BARBER

Lab rotation

Developmental role of protocadherins in migration of cortical neurons

Chercheur responsable: 

PIERANI Alessandra


1 September 2016 - 30 June 2017

Date limite de candidature: 

1 September 2016

Lab rotation proposal

~ Sep-Dec 2016 ~ Jan-March 2017 ~ Apr-June 2017


Extensive migration serves during development to direct neurons to their final location and the construction of functional circuits. Altered migration processes at embryonic stages lead to the construction of pathological neural circuits in adults. The project aims at testing how members of the protocadherin family control migration in the developing cerebral cortex. Variants associated with pathological conditions will be used in gain- and loss-of function approaches by in utero electroporation, mouse genetics, in vitro primary cell culture and timelapse microscopy.

AddressInstitut Jacques Monod - Bât. Buffon - 15 rue Hélène Brion 75205 Paris cedex 13

Phone number: +33 1 57 27 81 25 ;



Alessandra PIERANI