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Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Oct 5;11(4):517-28. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.06.010. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

An asymmetrically localized Staufen2-dependent RNA complex regulates maintenance of mammalian neural stem cells.

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Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada M5G 1L7.


The cellular mechanisms that regulate self-renewal versus differentiation of mammalian somatic tissue stem cells are still largely unknown. Here, we asked whether an RNA complex regulates this process in mammalian neural stem cells. We show that the RNA-binding protein Staufen2 (Stau2) is apically localized in radial glial precursors of the embryonic cortex, where it forms a complex with other RNA granule proteins including Pumilio2 (Pum2) and DDX1, and the mRNAs for β-actin and mammalian prospero, prox1. Perturbation of this complex by functional knockdown of Stau2, Pum2, or DDX1 causes premature differentiation of radial glial precursors into neurons and mislocalization and misexpression of prox1 mRNA. Thus, a Stau2- and Pum2-dependent RNA complex directly regulates localization and, potentially, expression of target mRNAs like prox1 in mammalian neural stem cells, and in so doing regulates the balance of stem cell maintenance versus differentiation.

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