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Development. 2017 Jun 1;144(11):2045-2058. doi: 10.1242/dev.139949. Epub 2017 May 15.

COUP-TFI mitotically regulates production and migration of dentate granule cells and modulates hippocampal Cxcr4 expression.

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Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, Inserm, iBV, Nice 06100, France.
Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, CNR, Naples 80131 Italy.
Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, Inserm, iBV, Nice 06100, France


Development of the dentate gyrus (DG), the primary gateway for hippocampal inputs, spans embryonic and postnatal stages, and involves complex morphogenetic events. We have previously identified the nuclear receptor COUP-TFI as a novel transcriptional regulator in the postnatal organization and function of the hippocampus. Here, we dissect its role in DG morphogenesis by inactivating it in either granule cell progenitors or granule neurons. Loss of COUP-TFI function in progenitors leads to decreased granule cell proliferative activity, precocious differentiation and increased apoptosis, resulting in a severe DG growth defect in adult mice. COUP-TFI-deficient cells express high levels of the chemokine receptor Cxcr4 and migrate abnormally, forming heterotopic clusters of differentiated granule cells along their paths. Conversely, high COUP-TFI expression levels downregulate Cxcr4 expression, whereas increased Cxcr4 expression in wild-type hippocampal cells affects cell migration. Finally, loss of COUP-TFI in postmitotic cells leads to only minor and transient abnormalities, and to normal Cxcr4 expression. Together, our results indicate that COUP-TFI is required predominantly in DG progenitors for modulating expression of the Cxcr4 receptor during granule cell neurogenesis and migration.


COUP-TFI (NR2F1); Cell migration; Cxcr4; Dentate gyrus; Granule cells; Hippocampus; Mouse

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