Phenotypic and functional heterogeneity of GFAP-expressing cells in vitro: Differential expression of LeX/CD15 by GFAP-expressing multipotent neural stem cells and non-neurogenic astrocytes
ABSTRACT Recent findings show that the predominant multipotent neural stem cells (NSCs) isolated from postnatal and adult mouse brain express glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP), a protein commonly associated with astrocytes, and that primary astrocyte cultures can contain GFAP-expressing cells that act as multipotent NSCs when transferred to neurogenic conditions. The relationship of GFAP-expressing NSCs to GFAP-expressing astrocytes is unclear, but has important implications. We compared the phenotype and neurogenic potential of GFAP-expressing cells derived from different CNS regions and maintained in vitro under different conditions. Multiple labeling immunohistochemistry revealed that both primary astrocyte cultures and adherent neurogenic cultures derived from postnatal or adult periventricular tissue contained subpopulations of GFAP-expressing cells that co-expressed nestin and LeX/CD15, two molecules associated with NSCs. In contrast, GFAP-expressing cells in similar cultures prepared from adult cerebral cortex did not express detectable levels of LeX/CD15, and exhibited no neurogenic potential. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) of both primary astrocyte cultures and adherent neurogenic cultures for LeX/CD15 showed that GFAP-expressing cells competent to act as multipotent NSCs were concentrated in the LeX-positive fraction. Using neurosphere assays and a transgenic ablation strategy, we confirmed that the predominant NSCs in primary astrocyte and adherent neurogenic cultures were GFAP-expressing cells. These findings demonstrate that GFAP-expressing cells derived from postnatal and adult forebrain are heterogeneous in both molecular phenotype and neurogenic potential in vitro, and that this heterogeneity exists before exposure to neurogenic conditions. The findings provide evidence that GFAP-expressing NSCs are phenotypically and functionally distinct from non-neurogenic astrocytes.
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ABSTRACT: Subcellular RNA localization plays an important role in development, cell differentiation, and cell migration. For a comprehensive description of the population of protrusion localized mRNAs in astrocytes we separated protrusions from cell bodies in a Boyden chamber and performed high-throughput direct RNA sequencing. The mRNAs with localization in astrocyte protrusions encode proteins belonging to a variety of functional groups indicating involvement of RNA localization for a palette of cellular functions. The mRNA encoding the intermediate filament protein Nestin was among the identified mRNAs. By RT-qPCR and RNA FISH analysis we confirmed Nestin mRNA localization in cell protrusions and also protrusion localization of Nestin protein. Nestin mRNA localization was dependent of Fragile X mental retardation syndrome proteins Fmrp and Fxr1, and the Nestin 3'-UTR was sufficient to mediate protrusion mRNA localization. The mRNAs for two other intermediate filament proteins in astrocytes, Gfap and Vimentin, have moderate and no protrusion localization, respectively, showing that individual intermediate filament components have different localization mechanisms. The correlated localization of Nestin mRNA with Nestin protein in cell protrusions indicates the presence of a regulatory mechanism at the mRNA localization level for the Nestin intermediate filament protein with potential importance for astrocyte functions during brain development and maintenance. GLIA 2013.Glia 08/2013; DOI:10.1002/glia.22569 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recently, we have demonstrated the expression of the polycomb group protein Ezh2 in embryonic and adult neural stem cells. Although Ezh2 remained highly expressed when neural stem cells differentiate into oligodendrocyte precursor cells, it is downregulated during the differentiation into neurons or astrocytes. This is in accordance with the differentiation repressive role Ezh2 is thought to play in the maintenance and self-renewal of stem cells. To establish the importance of downregulation of Ezh2 for becoming astrocytes, we have studied the effect of forced Ezh2 expression in postnatal mouse astrocytes. Upon forced expression of this polycomb group protein, cultured astrocytes retracted their cell extensions and became proliferating round/bipolar cells that occasionally formed small neurosphere-like clusters. Analysis of the expression profile of these Ezh2-expressing astrocytes reveal downregulation of typical astrocytic genes, like GFAP and S100, and upregulation of genes that are generally expressed in neural stem cells, like nestin, Sox2, musashi, and CD133. However, these neural stem cell-like cells lack a differentiation potential, indicating that overexpression of Ezh2 alone is insufficient for a complete dedifferentiation.10/2010; 13(1):1-6. DOI:10.1089/cell.2010.0052
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ABSTRACT: The fact that cells with glial characteristics such as forebrain radial glia during development and astroglial stem cells in the adult neurogenic zones serve as neuronal precursors provokes the question why glia in most other areas of the adult central nervous system are apparently incapable of generating new neurons. Besides being of pivotal biological interest answers to this question may also open new avenues for cell-based therapies of neurodegenerative diseases that involve a permanent loss of neurons which are not replaced naturally. For if one could indeed instruct glia to generate neurons, such a strategy would carry the enormous advantage of making use of a large pool of endogenous, and hence autologous cells, thereby circumventing many of the problems associated with therapeutic strategies based on transplantation. Accordingly, the recent years have seen increasing effort in assessing the plasticity of astroglia and other types of resident non-neuronal cells as a potential source for new neurons in the injured brain or eye. For instance, following injury astroglia in the cerebral cortex and Müller glia in the retina can de-differentiate and acquire stem or precursor cell like properties. Moreover, it has been shown that astroglia can be reprogrammed in vitro by forced expression of neurogenic transcription factors to transgress their lineage restriction and stably acquire a neuronal identity. In this review I will discuss the status quo of these early attempts, the limitations currently encountered and the future challenges before the full potential of this approach can be weighed.Neuropharmacology 05/2010; DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.11.004 · 4.82 Impact Factor