One of the key controllers of neural development seems to depend on a simple cellular decision--whether to divide perpendicularly or in parallel to the embryonic structure called the neuroepithelium. Nevertheless, such orientation is critical, and understanding its machinery could help neuroscientists learn to control the division of adult neural stem cells to regenerate neural tissues.
Researchers know that during the earliest embryonic brain development, neural stem cells divide "symmetrically," producing identical immature progenitor cells that continue to proliferate. A bit later, however, when neural tissues need to begin to differentiate, the cells divide "asymmetrically," producing one proliferating progenitor and another that stops proliferating and differentiates into an adult neural cell. And during final brain development, the cells return to symmetric cell division, creating differentiated adult cells.
The two types of cell division seem to be governed by the orientation of the tiny bundles of fiber-like microtubules called spindles inside the dividing cell--whether the spindles are oriented parallel or perpendicular to the neuroepithelium. These spindles attach to the dividing chromosomes in the nucleus and drag the two copies apart, ensuring that each daughter cell has its fair share.
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
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