GABAergic interneurons form transient layer-specific circuits in early postnatal neocortex

Paul G. Anastasiades, Andre Marques-Smith, Daniel Lyngholm, Tom Lickiss, Sayda Raffiq, Dennis Kätzel, Gero Miesenböck, Simon J.B. Butt

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GABAergic interneurons play key roles in cortical circuits, yet little is known about their early connectivity. Here we use glutamate uncaging and a novel optogenetic strategy to track changes in the afferent and efferent synaptic connections of developing neocortical interneuron subtypes. We find that Nkx2-1-derived interneurons possess functional synaptic connections before emerging pyramidal cell networks. Subsequent interneuron circuit maturation is both subtype and layer dependent. Glutamatergic input onto fast spiking (FS), but not somatostatin-positive, non-FS interneurons increases over development. Interneurons of both subtype located in layers (L) 4 and 5b engage in transient circuits that disappear after the somatosensory critical period. These include a pathway mediated by L5b somatostatin-positive interneurons that specifically targets L4 during the first postnatal week. The innervation patterns of immature cortical interneuron circuits are thus neither static nor progressively strengthened but follow a layer-specific choreography of transient connections that differ from those of the adult brain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10584
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2016



  • brain development
  • cell fate
  • cell maturation
  • evoked response
  • immunohistochemistry
  • in vitro study
  • interneuron

Cite this

Anastasiades, P. G., Marques-Smith, A., Lyngholm, D., Lickiss, T., Raffiq, S., Kätzel, D., ... Butt, S. J. B. (2016). GABAergic interneurons form transient layer-specific circuits in early postnatal neocortex. Nature Communications, 7, [10584].