Expression of the transcriptional repressor Zbtb20 is confined to the hippocampal primordium of the developing dorsal midline cortex in mice. Here, we show that misexpression of Zbtb20 converts projection neurons of the subiculum and postsubiculum (dorsal presubiculum) to CA1 pyramidal neurons that are innervated by Schaffer collateral projections in ectopic strata oriens and radiatum. The Zbtb20-transformed neurons express Bcl11B, Satb2, and Calbindin-D28k, which are markers of adult CA1 pyramidal neurons. Downregulation of Zbtb20 expression by RNA interference impairs the normal maturation of CA1 pyramidal neurons resulting in deficiencies in Calbindin-D28k expression and in reduced apical dendritic arborizations in stratum lacunosum moleculare. Overall, the results show that Zbtb20 is required for various aspects of CA1 pyramidal neuron development such as the postnatal extension of apical dendritic arbors in the distal target zone and the subtype differentiation of Calbindin-D28k-positive subsets. They further suggest that Zbtb20 plays a role in arealization of the midline cortex.
Cerebral Cortex, 2010, Vol 20, Issue 8, p. 1904-14