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Rapid genetic targeting of pial surface neural progenitors and immature neurons by neonatal electroporation

Joshua J Breunig1*, David Gate12, Rachelle Levy13, Javier Rodriguez1, Gi Bum Kim1, Moise Danielpour3, Clive N Svendsen124 and Terrence Town1234*

Author Affiliations

1 Regenerative Medicine Institute, SSB 345, Los Angeles, CA, 90048, USA

2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, 90048, USA

3 Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, 90048, USA

4 Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90048, USA

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Neural Development 2012, 7:26  doi:10.1186/1749-8104-7-26

Published: 10 July 2012



Recent findings have indicated the presence of a progenitor domain at the marginal zone/layer 1 of the cerebral cortex, and it has been suggested that these progenitors have neurogenic and gliogenic potential. However, their contribution to the histogenesis of the cortex remains poorly understood due to difficulties associated with genetically manipulating these unique cells in a population-specific manner.


We have adapted the electroporation technique to target pial surface cells for rapid genetic manipulation at postnatal day 2. In vivo data show that most of these cells proliferate and progressively differentiate into both neuronal and glial subtypes. Furthermore, these cells localize to the superficial layers of the optic tectum and cerebral cortex prior to migration away from the surface.


We provide a foundation upon which future studies can begin to elucidate the molecular controls governing neural progenitor fate, migration, differentiation, and contribution to cortical and tectal histogenesis. Furthermore, specific genetic targeting of such neural progenitor populations will likely be of future clinical interest.