[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 30-Mar-2009
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Rita Sullivan
news@rupress.org
212-327-8603
Rockefeller University Press

Brain building: Study shows brain growth tied to cell division in mouse embryos

IMAGE: Early-born neurons (green) are more abundant in the Vangl2-lacking mouse embryo brain (bottom) due to premature progenitor differentiation.

Click here for more information.

How your brain grows might come down to how your cells divide. In the April 6 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), Lake and Sokol report that mouse protein Vangl2 controls the asymmetrical cell division and developmental fate of progenitor neurons.

Vangl2 (aka Strabismus in flies) is a component of the PCP (planar cell polarity) pathway that is active in a variety of tissues and organisms. Mice that lack Vangl2 have a number of neurological defects including incomplete neural tube closure and reduced brain size.

Sokol and Lake wondered how Vangl2 might influence brain development. In the cerebral cortex, neurons are born from a pool of progenitor cells, and the time of their birth determines their fate. The research duo found that Vangl2-lacking mouse embryos had large numbers of early-born neurons and few remaining progenitor cells. This hinted that Vangl2-lacking neurons were differentiating prematurely—a suspicion confirmed in vitro.

The progenitor pool is maintained by asymmetrical division—one daughter cell becomes a neuron, the other self-renews. This fate asymmetry is thought to depend on the orientation of cell division, and the authors observed an increase in the number of symmetrically dividing progenitors in the brains of Vangl2-lacking mouse embryos. Also, Vangl2-lacking cells in culture showed symmetrical distribution of a spindle-orienting factor that in normal cells distributes asymmetrically.

Such similarities between Vangl2-lacking cells in vitro and in vivo will facilitate ongoing studies of the PCP pathway in neurogenesis.

###

About the Journal of Cell Biology

Founded in 1955, the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB) is published by the Rockefeller University Press. All editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted are made by active scientists in conjunction with our in-house scientific editors. JCB content is posted to PubMed Central, where it is available to the public for free six months after publication. Authors retain copyright of their published works and third parties may reuse the content for non-commercial purposes under a creative commons license. For more information, please visit www.jcb.org or visit the JCB press release archive at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/rupress.

Lake, B.B., and S.Y. Sokol. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200807073



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.