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Cell Adh Migr. 2009 Oct-Dec;3(4):412-24. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

Transcription factors and neural stem cell self-renewal, growth and differentiation.

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Institute of Medical Biology, Immunos, Singapore.


The central nervous system (CNS) is a large network of interconnecting and intercommunicating cells that form functional circuits. Disease and injury of the CNS are prominent features of the healthcare landscape. There is an urgent unmet need to generate therapeutic solutions for CNS disease/injury. To increase our understanding of the CNS we need to generate cellular models that are experimentally tractable. Neural stem cells (NSCs), cells that generate the CNS during embryonic development, have been identified and propagated in vitro. To develop NSCs as a cellular model for the CNS we need to understand more about their genetics and cell biology. In particular, we need to define the mechanisms of self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation--i.e. NSC behavior. The analysis of pluripotency of embryonic stem cells through mapping regulatory networks of transcription factors has proven to be a powerful approach to understanding embryonic development. Here, we discuss the role of transcription factors in NSC behavior.

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