Stem Cells: Neural Stem Cells in Cerebral Cortex Development
Neural stem cells (NSCs) in the developing neuroepithelium give rise, directly or indirectly, to all the neurons of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). In addition, they generate other essential neural cells, namely, the two types of macroglial cells in the CNS: astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. This chapter focuses on the cellular and molecular aspects of neural stem cell biology during CNS neurogenesis, the process through which these initially multipotent cells undergo fate restriction steps that will eventually lead to all the neuronal subtypes. We describe neurogenesis mainly in the developing cerebral neocortex, although the principles highlighted here describe also many aspects of the development of other CNS regions. We take the rodent brain as the main model system, as many principal hallmarks of brain development are evolutionarily conserved between rodents and other mammals, including primates. Key differences exist, however, and they are pinpointed appropriately. We also highlight some areas of intense current research and mention ideas that may contribute to our understanding of CNS development and function.
KeywordsNeural Stem Cell Primary Cilium Adherens Junction Ventricular Zone Apical Domain
We sincerely thank Elena Taverna, Judith Paridaen, and YoonJeung Chang for useful discussions and critical reading of the manuscript. We also thank Elena Taverna for the graphic design of Figures 6.2, 6.3, and 6.4. M.T.G. was a member of the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering and the Dresden International PhD Program. Research in the Huttner lab was supported by grants from the DFG (SFB 655, A2; TRR 83, Tp6) and the ERC (250197), by the DFG-funded Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, and by the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie.
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