Corticogenesis consists of a series of synchronised events, including fate transition of cortical progenitors, neuronal migration, specification and connectivity. NeuroD1, a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor (TF), contributes to all of these events, but how it coordinates these independently is still unknown. Here, we demonstrate that NeuroD1 expression is accompanied by a gain of active chromatin at a large number of genomic loci. Interestingly, transcriptional activation of these loci relied on a high local density of adjacent bHLH TFs motifs, including, predominantly, Tcf12. We found that activity and expression levels of Tcf12 were high in cells with induced levels of NeuroD1 that spanned the transition of cortical progenitors from proliferative to neurogenic divisions. Moreover, Tcf12 forms a complex with NeuroD1 and co-occupies a subset of NeuroD1 target loci. This Tcf12-NeuroD1 cooperativity is essential for gaining active chromatin and targeted expression of genes involved in cell migration. By functional manipulation in vivo, we further show that Tcf12 is essential during cortical development for the correct migration of newborn neurons and, hence, for proper cortical lamination.
Bibliographical note© 2022. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
- Cortical development
- Gene regulation
- Transcription factors