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Development. 2009 Dec;136(23):4021-31. doi: 10.1242/dev.041129.

FoxJ1-dependent gene expression is required for differentiation of radial glia into ependymal cells and a subset of astrocytes in the postnatal brain.

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North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA.


Neuronal specification occurs at the periventricular surface of the embryonic central nervous system. During early postnatal periods, radial glial cells in various ventricular zones of the brain differentiate into ependymal cells and astrocytes. However, mechanisms that drive this time- and cell-specific differentiation remain largely unknown. Here, we show that expression of the forkhead transcription factor FoxJ1 in mice is required for differentiation into ependymal cells and a small subset of FoxJ1(+) astrocytes in the lateral ventricles, where these cells form a postnatal neural stem cell niche. Moreover, we show that a subset of FoxJ1(+) cells harvested from the stem cell niche can self-renew and possess neurogenic potential. Using a transcriptome comparison of FoxJ1-null and wild-type microdissected tissue, we identified candidate genes regulated by FoxJ1 during early postnatal development. The list includes a significant number of microtubule-associated proteins, some of which form a protein complex that could regulate the transport of basal bodies to the ventricular surface of differentiating ependymal cells during FoxJ1-dependent ciliogenesis. Our results suggest that time- and cell-specific expression of FoxJ1 in the brain acts on an array of target genes to regulate the differentiation of ependymal cells and a small subset of astrocytes in the adult stem cell niche.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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