FoxP2 is a parvocellular-specific transcription factor in the visual thalamus of monkeys and ferrets

Lena Iwai, Yohei Ohashi, Deborah Van Der List, William Martin Usrey, Yasushi Miyashita, Hiroshi Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Although the parallel visual pathways are a fundamental basis of visual processing, our knowledge of their molecular properties is still limited. Here, we uncovered a parvocellular-specific molecule in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of higher mammals. We found that FoxP2 transcription factor was specifically expressed in X cells of the adult ferret dLGN. Interestingly, FoxP2 was also specifically expressed in parvocellular layers 3-6 of the dLGN of adult old world monkeys, providing new evidence for a homology between X cells in the ferret dLGN and parvocellular cells in the monkey dLGN. Furthermore, this expression pattern was established as early as gestation day 140 in the embryonic monkey dLGN, suggesting that parvocellular specification has already occurred when the cytoarchitectonic dLGN layers are formed. Our results should help in gaining a fundamental understanding of the development, evolution, and function of the parallel visual pathways, which are especially prominent in higher mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2204-2212
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • ferret
  • FoxP2
  • monkey
  • parvocellular
  • X cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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