Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Creative Destruction: A Basic Computational Model of Cortical Layer Formation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Roman BauerORCiD, Dr Gavin ClowryORCiD, Professor Marcus Kaiser



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.One of the most characteristic properties of many vertebrate neural systems is the layered organization of different cell types. This cytoarchitecture exists in the cortex, the retina, the hippocampus, and many other parts of the central nervous system. The developmental mechanisms of neural layer formation have been subject to substantial experimental efforts. Here, we provide a general computational model for cortical layer formation in 3D physical space. We show that this multiscale, agent-based model, comprising two distinct stages of apoptosis, can account for the wide range of neuronal numbers encountered in different cortical areas and species. Our results demonstrate the phenotypic richness of a basic state diagram structure. Importantly, apoptosis allows for changing the thickness of one layer without automatically affecting other layers. Therefore, apoptosis increases the flexibility for evolutionary change in layer architecture. Notably, slightly changed gene regulatory dynamics recapitulate the characteristic properties observed in neurodevelopmental diseases. Overall, we propose a novel computational model using gene-type rules, exhibiting many characteristics of normal and pathological cortical development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bauer R, Clowry GJ, Kaiser M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cerebral cortex

Year: 2021

Volume: 31

Issue: 7

Pages: 3237-3253

Print publication date: 01/07/2021

Online publication date: 24/02/2021

Acceptance date: 23/12/2020

Date deposited: 05/07/2021

ISSN (print): 1047-3211

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2199

Publisher: Oxford University Press

URL: .240746

DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab003

PubMed id: 33625496


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric