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No To Hattatsu. 2009 Nov;41(6):411-4.

[Epigenetic mechanisms regulating neural cell fate determination].

[Article in Japanese]

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Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience, Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara.


Neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs/NPCs) give rise to neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. It has become apparent that intracellular epigenetic modification including DNA methylation, in concert with extracellular cues such as cytokine signaling, is deeply involved in specifiying the fate of NSCs/NPCs by defining cell-type specific gene expression. However, it is still unclear how differentiated neural cells retain their specific attributes by repressing cellular properties characteristic of other lineages. In previous work, we have shown that methyl-CpG binding protein transcriptional repressors (MBDs), which were expressed predominantly in neurons in the central nervous system, inhibited astrocyte-specific gene expression by binding to highly methylated regions of their target genes. Here we report that oligodendrocytes, which do not express MBDs, can transdifferentiate into astrocytes both in vitro (cytokine stimulation) and in vive (ischemic injury) through the activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. These findings suggest that differentiation plasticity in neural cells is regulated by cell-intrinsic epigenetic mechanisms in collaboration with ambient cell-extrinsic cues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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