Bmi-1 over-expression in neural stem/progenitor cells increases proliferation and neurogenesis in culture but has little effect on these functions in vivo

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, Center for Stem Cell Biology, University of Michigan, 5435 Life Sciences Institute, 210 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216, USA.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.64). 02/2009; 328(2):257-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.01.020
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The polycomb gene Bmi-1 is required for the self-renewal of stem cells from diverse tissues, including the central nervous system (CNS). Bmi-1 expression is elevated in most human gliomas, irrespective of grade, raising the question of whether Bmi-1 over-expression is sufficient to promote self-renewal or tumorigenesis by CNS stem/progenitor cells. To test this we generated Nestin-Bmi-1-GFP transgenic mice. Analysis of two independent lines with expression in the fetal and adult CNS demonstrated that transgenic neural stem cells formed larger colonies, more self-renewing divisions, and more neurons in culture. However, in vivo, Bmi-1 over-expression had little effect on CNS stem cell frequency, subventricular zone proliferation, olfactory bulb neurogenesis, or neurogenesis/gliogenesis during development. Bmi-1 transgenic mice were born with enlarged lateral ventricles and a minority developed idiopathic hydrocephalus as adults, but none of the transgenic mice formed detectable CNS tumors, even when aged. The more pronounced effects of Bmi-1 over-expression in culture were largely attributable to the attenuated induction of p16(Ink4a) and p19(Arf) in culture, proteins that are generally not expressed by neural stem/progenitor cells in young mice in vivo. Bmi-1 over-expression therefore has more pronounced effects in culture and does not appear to be sufficient to induce tumorigenesis in vivo.

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