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BMB Rep. 2009 May 31;42(5):245-59.

Cell-intrinsic signals that regulate adult neurogenesis in vivo: insights from inducible approaches.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, 75390-9070, USA.


The process by which adult neural stem cells generate new and functionally integrated neurons in the adult mammalian brain has been intensely studied, but much more remains to be discovered. It is known that neural progenitors progress through distinct stages to become mature neurons, and this progression is tightly controlled by cell-cell interactions and signals in the neurogenic niche. However, less is known about the cell-intrinsic signaling required for proper progression through stages of adult neurogenesis. Techniques have recently been developed to manipulate genes specifically in adult neural stem cells and progenitors in vivo, such as the use of inducible transgenic mice and viral-mediated gene transduction. A critical mass of publications utilizing these techniques has been reached, making it timely to review which molecules are now known to play a cell-intrinsic role in regulating adult neurogenesis in vivo. By drawing attention to these isolated molecules (e.g. Notch), we hope to stimulate a broad effort to understand the complex and compelling cascades of intrinsic signaling molecules important to adult neurogenesis. Understanding this process opens the possibility of understanding brain functions subserved by neurogenesis, such as memory, and also of harnessing neural stem cells for repair of the diseased and injured brain.

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