Misexpression of Ptf1a in cortical pyramidal cells in vivo promotes an inhibitory peptidergic identity

Jeffrey B. Russ, Mark D. Borromeo, Rahul K. Kollipara, Praveen K. Bommareddy, Jane E. Johnson, Julia A. Kaltschmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The intracellular transcriptional milieu wields considerable influence over the induction of neuronal identity. The transcription factor Ptf1a has been proposed to act as an identity “switch” between developmentally related precursors in the spinal cord (Glasgow et al., 2005; Huang et al., 2008), retina (Fujitani et al., 2006; Dullin et al., 2007; Nakhai et al., 2007; Lelièvre et al., 2011), and cerebellum (Hoshino et al., 2005; Pascual et al., 2007; Yamada et al., 2014), where it promotes an inhibitory over an excitatory neuronal identity. In this study, we investigate the potency of Ptf1a to cell autonomously confer a specific neuronal identity outside of its endogenous environment, using mouse in utero electroporation and a conditional genetic strategy to misexpress Ptf1a exclusively in developing cortical pyramidal cells. Transcriptome profiling of Ptf1a-misexpressing cells using RNA-seq reveals that Ptf1a significantly alters pyramidal cell gene expression, upregulating numerous Ptf1a-dependent inhibitory interneuron markers and ultimately generating a gene expression profile that resembles the transcriptomes of both Ptf1a-expressing spinal interneurons and endogenous cortical interneurons. Using RNA-seq and in situ hybridization analyses, we also show that Ptf1a induces expression of the peptidergic neurotransmitter nociceptin, while minimally affecting the expression of genes linked to other neurotransmitter systems. Moreover, Ptf1a alters neuronal morphology, inducing the radial redistribution and branching of neurites in cortical pyramidal cells. Thus Ptf1a is sufficient, even in a dramatically different neuronal precursor, to cell autonomously promote characteristics of an inhibitory peptidergic identity, providing the first example of a single transcription factor that can direct an inhibitory peptidergic fate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6028-6037
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 15 2015


  • Cortex
  • Inhibitory interneuron
  • Neuronal identity
  • Peptidergic
  • Ptf1a
  • Subtype specification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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