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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

NKCC1 controls GABAergic signaling and neuroblast migration in the postnatal forebrain

Sheyla Mejia-Gervacio12*, Kerren Murray12 and Pierre-Marie Lledo12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institut Pasteur, Laboratory for Perception and Memory, 25 rue du Dr. Roux, F-75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

2 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Unité de Recherche Associée (URA) 2182, 75724 Paris, France

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Neural Development 2011, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1749-8104-6-4

Published: 1 February 2011

Abstract

From an early postnatal period and throughout life there is a continuous production of olfactory bulb (OB) interneurons originating from neuronal precursors in the subventricular zone. To reach the OB circuits, immature neuroblasts migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS). In the present study, we employed cultured postnatal mouse forebrain slices and used lentiviral vectors to label neuronal precursors with GFP and to manipulate the expression levels of the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1. We investigated the role of this Cl- transporter in different stages of postnatal neurogenesis, including neuroblast migration and integration in the OB networks once they have reached the granule cell layer (GCL). We report that NKCC1 activity is necessary for maintaining normal migratory speed. Both pharmacological and genetic manipulations revealed that NKCC1 maintains high [Cl-]i and regulates the resting membrane potential of migratory neuroblasts whilst its functional expression is strongly reduced at the time cells reach the GCL. As in other developing systems, NKCC1 shapes GABAA-dependent signaling in the RMS neuroblasts. Also, we show that NKCC1 controls the migration of neuroblasts in the RMS. The present study indeed indicates that the latter effect results from a novel action of NKCC1 on the resting membrane potential, which is independent of GABAA-dependent signaling. All in all, our findings show that early stages of the postnatal recruitment of OB interneurons rely on precise, orchestrated mechanisms that depend on multiple actions of NKCC1.