Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, play important roles during development. Although bi-directional communication between microglia and neuronal progenitors or immature neurons has been demonstrated, the main sites of interaction and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. By using advanced methods, here we provide evidence that microglial processes form specialized contacts with the cell bodies of developing neurons throughout embryonic, early postnatal, and adult neurogenesis. These early developmental contacts are highly reminiscent of somatic purinergic junctions that are instrumental for microglia-neuron communication in the adult brain. The formation and maintenance of these junctions is regulated by functional microglial P2Y12 receptors, and deletion of P2Y12Rs disturbs proliferation of neuronal precursors and leads to aberrant cortical cytoarchitecture during development and in adulthood. We propose that early developmental formation of somatic purinergic junctions represents an important interface for microglia to monitor the status of immature neurons and control neurodevelopment.
- CP: Neuroscience
- neuronal development
- somatic junction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)