Analysis of cell-cell interactions during neuronal migration in the developing cortex by live cell imaging and cell shape quantification
Polarity is a fundamental property of all cells, yet the mechanisms that direct its establishment in vivo are only incompletely understood. The highly polarized projection neurons in the mammalian cortex arise from the radial glia in the ventricular zone that serve as neuronal progenitors. During their migration from the ventricular zone neurons transiently exhibit a multipolar morphology with several highly dynamic neurites. Eventually, neurons become bipolar and migrate along the radial glia to the cortical plate. During the transition from the multipolar to the bipolar morphology neurons become polarized by the specification of an axon and a leading process. In this project we will investigate how Rap1 GTPases regulate the interaction between neurons and radial glia during early stages of neuronal migration using slice cultures and live cell imaging. To analyze neuronal migration and the interaction with radial glia we will develop mathematical tools to automatically track and analyze neuronal migration, morphology and cell-cell interactions.