BAVARIAN RESEARCH ASSOCIATION FOR ADULT NEURONAL STEM CELLS
Identification of signalling pathways regulating adult neural stem cell maintenance
Field of work:Identification of signalling pathways in maintenance and differentiation of adult neural stem cells
There is mounting evidence that the generation of new neurons from neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult hippocampal dentate gyrus, contributes to hippocampus-dependent learning and memory and emotional control. Hippocampal neurogenesis drastically decreases with age and is paralleled by a significant decline in hippocampal function. Current data indicates that this age-related decrease in neurogenesis is the result of progressive loss of NSCs. The overall goal of this project is to identify signalling pathways that regulate the maintenance of adult hippocampal NSCs. Our recent results show that Sox2 – a transcription factor, which is essential for NSC maintenance - is a direct target of Notch signalling in adult NSCs in vitro, suggesting that Notch signalling participates in the control of adult NSC maintenance. To investigate this possibility, we propose to determine the consequences of loss-of Notch signalling for hippocampal NSC maintenance in vivo. Identification of molecular signals that regulate stem cell maintenance will be important for the basic understanding of NSC biology and adult hippocampal neurogenesis and may have biomedical implications given the role of hippocampal neurogenesis in learning and emotional control.