Caveolin1 Identifies a Specific Subpopulation of Cerebral Cortex Callosal Projection Neurons (CPN) Including Dual Projecting Cortical Callosal/Frontal Projection Neurons (CPN/FPN)

Jessica L. MacDonald, Ryann M. Fame, Eva M. Gillis-Buck, Jeffrey D. Macklis
The neocortex is composed of many distinct subtypes of neurons that must form precise subtype-specific connections to enable the cortex to perform complex functions. Callosal projection neurons (CPN) are the broad population of commissural neurons that connect the cerebral hemispheres via the corpus callosum (CC). Currently, how the remarkable diversity of CPN subtypes and connectivity is specified, and how they differentiate to form highly precise and specific circuits, are largely unknown. We identify in mouse that the lipid-bound scaffolding domain protein Caveolin 1 (CAV1) is specifically expressed by a unique subpopulation of Layer V CPN that maintain dual ipsilateral frontal projections to premotor cortex. CAV1 is expressed by over 80% of these dual projecting callosal/frontal projection neurons (CPN/FPN), with expression peaking early postnatally as axonal and dendritic targets are being reached and refined. CAV1 is localized to the soma and dendrites of CPN/FPN, a unique population of neurons that shares information both between hemispheres and with premotor cortex, suggesting function during postmitotic development and refinement of these neurons, rather than in their specification. Consistent with this, we find that Cav1 function is not necessary for the early specification of CPN/FPN, or for projecting to their dual axonal targets. CPN subtype-specific expression of Cav1 identifies and characterizes a first molecular component that distinguishes this functionally unique projection neuron population, a population that expands in primates, and is prototypical of additional dual and higher-order projection neuron subtypes.

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