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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Nov;18(5):485-502.

Emx2 promotes symmetric cell divisions and a multipotential fate in precursors from the cerebral cortex.

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Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology, Munich, Germany.


Distinct sets of precursor cells generate the mammalian cerebral cortex. During neurogenesis most precursors are specified to generate a single cell type and only few are multipotent. The cell-intrinsic molecular determinants of these distinct lineages are not known. Here we describe that retroviral transduction of the transcription factor Emx2 in precursors from the cerebral cortex results in a significant increase of large clones that are generated mostly by symmetric cell divisions and contain multiple cell types, comprising neurons and glial cells. Thus, Emx2 is the first cell-intrinsic determinant able to instruct CNS precursors towards a multipotential fate. To evaluate the role of endogenous Emx2 in cortical precursors, we examined cell division in Emx2-/- mice. These analyses further supported the role of endogenous Emx2 in the regulation of symmetric cell divisions in the developing cortex.

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