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Brain Res. 2006 Sep 7;1108(1):45-53. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Cell cycle deregulation and loss of stem cell phenotype in the subventricular zone of TGF-beta adaptor elf-/- mouse brain.

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Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, 3900 Reservoir Road NW, Medical/Dental Building, Room NW 209-213, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The mammalian forebrain subependyma contains neural stem cells and other proliferating progenitor cells. Recent studies have shown the importance of TGF-beta family members and their adaptor proteins in the inhibition of proliferation in the nervous system. Previously, we have demonstrated that TGF-beta induces phosphorylation and association of ELF (embryonic liver fodrin) with Smad3 and Smad4 resulting in nuclear translocation. Elf(-/-) mice manifest abnormal neuronal differentiation, with loss of neuroepithelial progenitor cell phenotype in the subventricular zone (SVZ) with dramatic marginal cell hyperplasia and loss of nestin expression. Here, we have analyzed the expression of cell cycle-associated proteins cdk4, mdm2, p21, and pRb family members in the brain of elf(-/-) mice to verify the role of elf in the regulation of neural precursor cells in the mammalian brain. Increased proliferation in SVZ cells of the mutant mice coincided with higher levels of cdk4 and mdm2 expression. A lesser degree of apoptosis was observed in the mutant mice compared to the wild-type control. Elf(-/-) embryos showed elevated levels of hyperphosphorylated forms of pRb, p130 and p107 and decreased level of p21 compared to the wild-type control. These results establish a critical role for elf in the development of a SVZ neuroepithelial stem cell phenotype and regulation of neuroepithelial cell proliferation, suggesting that a mutation in the elf locus renders the cells susceptible to a faster entry into S phase of cell cycle and resistance to senescence and apoptotic stimuli.

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