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Genetic 'conductor' involved with new brain cell production in adults
Date:6/29/2011

over that in addition to being an off switch, the Foxj1 cellular lineage (i.e., Foxj1 expressing cells and their descendents) performs an important function as a "conductor," instructing the other stem cells in the olfactory bulb by secreting various molecules that affect the other stem cells' behavior and ensure their correct development into neurons. So a small number of Foxj1-expressing cells and their neuronal offspring direct other stem cells to continue reproducing, and may be telling them when to become functionally integrated neurons.

The research appears in the Journal of Neuroscience. Graduate students Benoit Jacquet, Huixuan Liang, and Guanxi Xiao, together with postdoctoral fellows Nagendran Muthusamy and Laura Sommerville contributed to the work.

"This finding is important because for the most part our brains cannot generate new neurons, nor can we efficiently use transplanted neurons to repair damage," Ghashghaei says. "Foxj1 expressing cells and their neurons seem to support zones within the brain where new neurons are created and integrated into existing neural circuits. If we can find out how to put these 'conductor' cells into other areas of the brain such as the spinal cord, it may lead to new cell-based therapies.

"This project took us on a roller-coaster ride but the ending is a testament to the power of creative thinking and persistence in scientific inquiry an achievement of which the clever and hardworking graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working on the problem should be very proud."

Ghashghaei's research is funded by the NIH and the American Federation for Aging Research. The Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences is part of NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine.


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Contact: Tracey Peake
tracey_peake@ncsu.edu
919-515-6142
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

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