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Development. 1998 Aug;125(16):3143-52.

Intrinsic programs of patterned cell lineages in isolated vertebrate CNS ventricular zone cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, A-136, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Using long-term, time-lapse video-microscopy, we investigated how single progenitor cells isolated from the early embryonic cerebral cortex produce neurons and glia over time. Clones of 10 cells or less were produced by short symmetric or asymmetric division patterns, commonly terminating in a 'pair progenitor' for two morphologically identical neurons. Larger trees were composites of these short sub-lineages: more prolific neuroblasts underwent repeated asymmetric divisions, each producing a minor neuroblast that typically made (3/4)10 progeny, and a sister cell capable of generating more progeny. Particular division patterns were seen repeatedly. In contrast, glioblasts underwent a prolonged series of symmetric divisions. These patterned lineage trees were generated from isolated cells growing on plastic, suggesting they are largely intrinsically programmed. Our data demonstrate for the first time that CNS progenitor cells have stereotyped division patterns, and suggest that as in invertebrates, these may play a role in neural development.

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