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Nature. 2013 Jun 27;498(7455):449-55. doi: 10.1038/nature12266. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Combinatorial temporal patterning in progenitors expands neural diversity.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA.


Human outer subventricular zone (OSVZ) neural progenitors and Drosophila type II neuroblasts both generate intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) that populate the adult cerebral cortex or central complex, respectively. It is unknown whether INPs simply expand or also diversify neural cell types. Here we show that Drosophila INPs sequentially generate distinct neural subtypes, that INPs sequentially express Dichaete, Grainy head and Eyeless transcription factors, and that these transcription factors are required for the production of distinct neural subtypes. Moreover, parental type II neuroblasts also sequentially express transcription factors and generate different neuronal/glial progeny over time, providing a second temporal identity axis. We conclude that neuroblast and INP temporal patterning axes act together to generate increased neural diversity within the adult central complex; OSVZ progenitors may use similar mechanisms to increase neural diversity in the human brain.

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