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Decoding neuronal composition and ontogeny of individual hypothalamic nuclei

Authors: Ma, Tong; Wong, Samuel Zheng Hao; Lee, Bora; Ming, Guo-li; Song, Hongjun

Online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627321000490

Issue: Neuron . 2021 Apr 7;109(7):1150-1167.e6.


The hypothalamus plays crucial roles in regulating endocrine, autonomic, and behavioral functions via its diverse nuclei and neuronal subtypes. The developmental mechanisms underlying ontogenetic establishment of different hypothalamic nuclei and generation of neuronal diversity remain largely unknown. Here, we show that combinatorial T-box 3 (TBX3), orthopedia homeobox (OTP), and distal-less homeobox (DLX) expression delineates all arcuate nucleus (Arc) neurons and defines four distinct subpopulations, whereas combinatorial NKX2.1/SF1 and OTP/DLX expression identifies ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and tuberal nucleus (TuN) neuronal subpopulations, respectively. Developmental analysis indicates that all four Arc subpopulations are mosaically and simultaneously generated from embryonic Arc progenitors, whereas glutamatergic VMH neurons and GABAergic TuN neurons are sequentially generated from common embryonic VMH progenitors. Moreover, clonal lineage-tracing analysis reveals that diverse lineages from multipotent radial glia progenitors orchestrate Arc and VMH-TuN establishment. Together, our study reveals cellular mechanisms underlying generation and organization of diverse neuronal subtypes and ontogenetic establishment of individual nuclei in the mammalian hypothalamus.