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J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 27;33(9):4066-75. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4586-12.2013.

Paired related homeobox protein 1 is a regulator of stemness in adult neural stem/progenitor cells.

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Division of Functional Genomics, Center for Frontier Life Science, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8102, Japan.


Newborn neurons are generated from neural stem cells (NSCs) in two major niches of the adult brain. Maintenance of self-renewal and multipotency of adult NSCs is controlled by multiple transcription factor networks. We show here that paired related homeobox protein Prx1 (MHox1/Prrx1) plays an important role in the maintenance of adult NSCs. Prx1 works with the transcription factor Sox2 as a coactivator, and depletion of Prx1 in cultured adult mouse NSCs reduces their self-renewal. In addition, we find that Prx1 protein is expressed in Sox2(+)/GFAP(+)/Nestin(+) astrocytes in the germinal regions of the adult mouse forebrain. The continuous expression of Prx1 in proliferating adult mouse hippocampal stem/progenitor cells in vivo leads to the generation of radial/horizontal-shaped astrocyte progenitor- and oligodendrocyte progenitor-like cells with no newborn neurons in the neurogenic niche. These data suggest that Prx1 plays an important role as a key switch for neural cell lineage determination and the maintenance of the self-renewal of adult NSCs at several stages in the adult brain.

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