Neurofibromin is required for barrel formation in the mouse somatosensory cortex

Mark E. Lush, Yun Li, Chang Hyuk Kwon, Jian Chen, Luis F. Parada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The rodent barrel cortex is a useful system to study the role of genes and neuronal activity in the patterning of the nervous system. Several genes encoding either intracellular signaling molecules or neurotransmitter receptors are required for barrel formation. Neurofibromin is a tumor suppressor protein that has Ras GTPase activity, thus attenuating the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and and PI-3 kinase (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase) pathways, and is mutated in humans with the condition neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Neurofibromin is widely expressed in the developing and adult nervous system, and a common feature of NF1 is deficits in intellectual development. In addition, NF1 is an uncommonly high disorder among individuals with autism. Thus, NF1 may have important roles in normal CNS development and function. To explore roles for neurofibromin in the development of the CNS, we took advantage of a mouse conditional allele. We show that mice that lack neurofibromin in the majority of cortical neurons and astrocytes fail to form cortical barrels in the somatosensory cortex, whereas segregation of thalamic axons within the somatosensory cortex appears unaffected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1587
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 13 2008


  • Conditional mutant
  • Development
  • NF1
  • Ras-GAP
  • Thalamocortical axons
  • hGFAP-Cre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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