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Methods Mol Biol. 2012;814:9-22. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-452-0_2.

Neurogenic astrocytes and their glycoconjugates: not just "glue" anymore.

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Department of Neuroscience, The Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Cells with certain attributes of very immature astroglial cells and their radial precursors can act as stem and/or progenitor cells during developmental and persistent neurogenesis. Neural stem/progenitor cells both express and are affected by a variety of developmentally regulated macromolecules and growth factors, and such signaling or recognition molecules are being uncovered through extensive genomic and proteomic studies, as well as tested using in vitro/in vivo cell growth bioassays. Glycosylated molecules are appreciated as distinct signaling molecules during morphogenesis in a variety of tissues and organs, with glycoconjugates (glycoproteins, glycolipids, and glycosaminoglycans) serving as mediators for the interactions of cells with each other and their substrates, to confer growth and differentiation cues to precursor cells in search of identity. Neurogenic astrocytes and associated glycoconjugates, especially extracellular matrix molecules, are discussed in the context of neurogenesis and stem/progenitor cell growth, fate choice, and differentiation.

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