The neocortex exhibits a six-layered structure that is formed by radial migration of excitatory neurons, for which the multipolar-to-bipolar transition of immature migrating multipolar neurons is required. Here, we report that subplate neurons, one of the first neuron types born in the neocortex, manage the multipolar-to-bipolar transition of migrating neurons. By histochemical, imaging, and microarray analyses on the mouse embryonic cortex, we found that subplate neurons extend neurites toward the ventricular side of the subplate and form transient glutamatergic synapses on the multipolar neurons just below the subplate. NMDAR (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor)-mediated synaptic transmission from subplate neurons to multipolar neurons induces themultipolar-to-bipolar transition, leading to a change inmigration mode from slow multipolar migration to faster radial glial-guided locomotion. Our data suggested that transient synapses formed on early immature neurons regulate radialmigration.
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