Differences in Human Cortical Gene Expression Match the Temporal Properties of Large-Scale Functional Networks
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We explore the relationships between the cortex functional organization and genetic expression (as provided by the Allen Human Brain Atlas). Previous work suggests that functional cortical networks (resting state and task based) are organized as two large networks (differentiated by their preferred information processing mode) shaped like two rings. The first ring-Visual-Sensorimotor-Auditory (VSA)-comprises visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor cortices that process real time world interactions. The second ring-Parieto-Temporo-Frontal (PTF)-comprises parietal, temporal, and frontal regions with networks dedicated to cognitive functions, emotions, biological needs, and internally driven rhythms. We found-with correspondence analysis-that the patterns of expression of the 938 genes most differentially expressed across the cortex organized the cortex into two sets of regions that match the two rings. We confirmed this result using discriminant correspondence analysis by showing that the genetic profiles of cortical regions can reliably predict to what ring these regions belong. We found that several of the proteins-coded by genes that most differentiate the rings-were involved in neuronal information processing such as ionic channels and neurotransmitter release. The systematic study of families of genes revealed specific proteins within families preferentially expressed in each ring. The results showed strong congruence between the preferential expression of subsets of genes, temporal properties of the proteins they code, and the preferred processing modes of the rings. Ionic channels and release-related proteins more expressed in the VSA ring favor temporal precision of fast evoked neural transmission (Sodium channels SCNA1, SCNB1 potassium channel KCNA1, calcium channel CACNA2D2, Synaptotagmin SYT2, Complexin CPLX1, Synaptobrevin VAMP1). Conversely, genes expressed in the PTF ring favor slower, sustained, or rhythmic activation (Sodium channels SCNA3, SCNB3, SCN9A potassium channels KCNF1, KCNG1) and facilitate spontaneous transmitter release (calcium channel CACNA1H, Synaptotagmins SYT5, Complexin CPLX3, and synaptobrevin VAMP2).