The brain contains a large diversity of unique cell types that use specific genetic programs to control development and instruct the intricate wiring of sensory, motor, and cognitive brain regions. In addition to their cellular diversity and specialized connectivity maps, each region’s dedicated function is also expressed in their characteristic gross external morphologies. The folds on the surface of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum are classic examples. But, to what extent does structure relate to function and at what spatial scale? We discuss the mechanisms that sculpt functional brain maps and external morphologies. We also contrast the cryptic structural defects in conditions such as autism spectrum disorders to the overt microcephaly after Zika infections, taking into consideration that both diseases disrupt proper cognitive development. The data indicate that dynamic processes shape all brain areas to fit into jigsaw-like patterns. The patterns in each region reflect circuit connectivity, which ultimately supports local signal processing and accomplishes multi-areal integration of information processing to optimize brain functions.
Miterko, L. N., Lackey, E. P., Heck, D. H., & Sillitoe, R. V. (2018, October 10). Shaping Diversity Into the Brain’s Form and Function. Frontiers in Neural Circuits. Frontiers Media S.A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2018.00083