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Nat Commun. 2011 Aug 23;2:446. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1460.

Direct visualization of microtubules using a genetic tool to analyse radial progenitor-astrocyte continuum in brain.

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UNC Neuroscience Center and The Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


Microtubule cytoskeletal dynamics of cortical progenitors and astroglial cells have critical roles in the emergence of normal functional organization of cerebral cortex and in disease processes such as tumorigenesis. However, tools to efficiently visualize these events are lacking. Here we describe a mouse genetic model to efficiently visualize and analyse radial progenitors, their astroglial progeny, and the microtubule cytoskeleton of these cells in the developing and adult brain. Using this tool, we demonstrate altered microtubule organization and capture dynamics in adenomatous polyposis coli-deficient radial progenitors. Further, using multiphoton microscopy, we show the utility of this tool in real-time imaging of astrocytes in living mouse brain and the short-term stable nature of astrocytes in cerebral cortex. Thus, this model will help explore the dynamics of radial progenitor/astrocyte development or dysfunction and the influence of microtubule functions during these events.

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