Parallel development of chromatin patterns, neuron morphology, and connections: potential for disruption in autism
Garcia-Cabezas, Miguel A.
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Citation (published version)Miguel A Garcia-Cabezas, Helen Barbas, Basilis Zikopoulos. 2018. "Parallel Development of Chromatin Patterns, Neuron Morphology, and Connections: Potential for Disruption in Autism." FRONTIERS IN NEUROANATOMY, Volume 12, pp. ? - ? (18). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnana.2018.00070
The phenotype of neurons and their connections depend on complex genetic and epigenetic processes that regulate the expression of genes in the nucleus during development and throughout life. Here we examined the distribution of nuclear chromatin patters in relation to the epigenetic landscape, phenotype and connections of neurons with a focus on the primate cerebral cortex. We show that nuclear patterns of chromatin in cortical neurons are related to neuron size and cortical connections. Moreover, we point to evidence that reveals an orderly sequence of events during development, linking chromatin and gene expression patterns, neuron morphology, function, and connections across cortical areas and layers. Based on this synthesis, we posit that systematic studies of changes in chromatin patterns and epigenetic marks across cortical areas will provide novel insights on the development and evolution of cortical networks, and their disruption in connectivity disorders of developmental origin, like autism. Achieving this requires embedding and interpreting genetic, transcriptional, and epigenetic studies within a framework that takes into consideration distinct types of neurons, local circuit interactions, and interareal pathways. These features vary systematically across cortical areas in parallel with laminar structure and are differentially affected in disorders. Finally, based on evidence that autism-associated genetic polymorphisms are especially prominent in excitatory neurons and connectivity disruption affects mostly limbic cortices, we employ this systematic approach to propose novel, targeted studies of projection neurons in limbic areas to elucidate the emergence and time-course of developmental disruptions in autism.
RightsCopyright © 2018 García-Cabezas, Barbas and Zikopoulos. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.