, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 41-49
Date: 09 Nov 2010

Nuclear Factor I and Cerebellar Granule Neuron Development: An Intrinsic–Extrinsic Interplay

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Abstract

Granule neurons have a central role in cerebellar function via their synaptic interactions with other neuronal cell types both within and outside this structure. Establishment of these synaptic connections and its control is therefore essential to their function. Both intrinsic as well as environmental mechanisms are required for neuronal development and formation of neuronal circuits, and a key but poorly understood question is how these various events are coordinated and integrated in maturing neurons. In this review, we summarize recent work on the role of the Nuclear Factor I family in the transcriptional programming of cerebellar granule neuron maturation and synapse formation. In particular, we describe (1) the involvement of this family of factors in key developmental steps occurring throughout postmitotic granule neuron development, including dendrite and synapse formation and synaptic receptor expression, and (2) the mediation of these actions by critical downstream gene targets that control cell–cell interactions. These findings illustrate how Nuclear Factor I proteins and their regulons function as a “bridge” between cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic interactions to control multiple phases of granule neuron development.