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Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Sep 4;5(3):320-31. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2009.05.026.

Cdk4/cyclinD1 overexpression in neural stem cells shortens G1, delays neurogenesis, and promotes the generation and expansion of basal progenitors.

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DFG-Research Center and Cluster of Excellence for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Medical Faculty, Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden c/o Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.


During mouse embryonic development, neural progenitors lengthen the G1 phase of the cell cycle and this has been suggested to be a cause, rather than a consequence, of neurogenesis. To investigate whether G1 lengthening alone may cause the switch of cortical progenitors from proliferation to neurogenesis, we manipulated the expression of cdk/cyclin complexes and found that cdk4/cyclinD1 overexpression prevents G1 lengthening without affecting cell growth, cleavage plane, or cell cycle synchrony with interkinetic nuclear migration. Specifically, overexpression of cdk4/cyclinD1 inhibited neurogenesis while increasing the generation and expansion of basal (intermediate) progenitors, resulting in a thicker subventricular zone and larger surface area of the postnatal cortex originating from cdk4/cyclinD1-transfected progenitors. Conversely, lengthening of G1 by cdk4/cyclinD1-RNAi displayed the opposite effects. Thus, G1 lengthening is necessary and sufficient to switch neural progenitors to neurogenesis, and overexpression of cdk4/cyclinD1 can be used to increase progenitor expansion and, perhaps, cortical surface area.

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