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Neuroscience. 2007 Jun 29;147(2):373-87. Epub 2007 May 29.

Licensing regulators Geminin and Cdt1 identify progenitor cells of the mouse CNS in a specific phase of the cell cycle.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Patras, 26500 Rio, Patras, Greece.


Nervous system formation integrates control of cellular proliferation and differentiation and is mediated by multipotent neural progenitor cells that become progressively restricted in their developmental potential before they give rise to differentiated neurons and glial cells. Evidence from different experimental systems suggests that Geminin is a candidate molecule linking proliferation and differentiation during nervous system development. We show here that Geminin and its binding partner Cdt1 are expressed abundantly by neural progenitor cells during early mouse neurogenesis. Their expression levels decline at late developmental stages and become undetectable upon differentiation. Geminin and Cdt1 expressing cells also express Sox2 while no overlap is detected with cells expressing markers of a differentiated neuronal phenotype. A fraction of radial glial cells expressing RC2 and Pax6 are also immunoreactive for Geminin and Cdt1. The majority of the Geminin and Cdt1 expressing cell populations appears to be distinct from fate-restricted precursor cells expressing Mash1 or Neurogenin2. Bromo-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation experiments reveal a cell cycle specific expression in neural progenitor cells, with Geminin being present from S to M phase, while Cdt1 expression characterizes progenitor cells in G1 phase. Furthermore, in vitro differentiation of adult neurosphere cultures shows downregulation of Geminin/Cdt1 in the differentiated state, in line with our data showing that Geminin is present in neural progenitor cells of the CNS during mouse embryogenesis and adulthood and becomes downregulated upon cell fate specification and differentiation. This suggests a role for Geminin in the formation and maintenance of the neural progenitor cells.

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