Junctional adhesion molecule-C (JAM-C) is an adhesive cell surface protein expressed in various cell types. JAM-C localizes to the apically localized tight junctions (TJs) between contacting endothelial and epithelial cells, where it contributes to cell-cell adhesions. Just as those epithelial cells, also neural stem cells are highly polarized along their apical-basal axis. The defining feature of all stem cells, including neural stem cells (NSCs) is their ability to self renew. This self-renewal depends on the tight control of symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions. In NSCs, the decision whether a division is symmetric or asymmetric largely depends on the distribution of the apical membrane and cell fate determinants on the basal pole of the cell. In this study we demonstrate that JAM-C is expressed on neural progenitor cells and neural stem cells in the embryonic as well as the adult mouse brain. Furthermore, we demonstrate that in vivo JAM-C shows enrichment at the apical surface and therefore is asymmetrically distributed during cell divisions. These results define JAM-C as a novel surface marker for neural stem cells.
Stem cells and development 11/2011; 21(5):757-66. DOI:10.1089/scd.2011.0274 · 4.20 Impact Factor