[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous transcriptional regulators of neurogenesis have been identified in the developing and adult brain, but how neurogenic fate is programmed at the epigenetic level remains poorly defined. Here, we report that the transcription factor Pax6 directly interacts with the Brg1-containing BAF complex in adult neural progenitors. Deletion of either Brg1 or Pax6 in the subependymal zone (SEZ) causes the progeny of adult neural stem cells to convert to the ependymal lineage within the SEZ while migrating neuroblasts convert to different glial lineages en route to or in the olfactory bulb (OB). Genome-wide analyses reveal that the majority of genes downregulated in the Brg1 null SEZ and OB contain Pax6 binding sites and are also downregulated in Pax6 null SEZ and OB. Downstream of the Pax6-BAF complex, we find that Sox11, Nfib, and Pou3f4 form a transcriptional cross-regulatory network that drives neurogenesis and can convert postnatal glia into neurons. Taken together, elements of our work identify a tripartite effector network activated by Pax6-BAF that programs neuronal fate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most neurons in the adult mammalian brain survive for the entire life of an individual. However, it is not known which transcriptional pathways regulate this survival in a healthy brain. Here, we identify a pathway regulating neuronal survival in a highly subtype-specific manner. We show that the transcription factor Pax6 expressed in dopaminergic neurons of the olfactory bulb regulates the survival of these neurons by directly controlling the expression of crystallin αA (CryαA), which blocks apoptosis by inhibition of procaspase-3 activation. Re-expression of CryαA fully rescues survival of Pax6-deficient dopaminergic interneurons in vivo and knockdown of CryαA by shRNA in wild-type mice reduces the number of dopaminergic OB interneurons. Strikingly, Pax6 utilizes different DNA-binding domains for its well-known role in fate specification and this role of regulating the survival of specific neuronal subtypes in the mature, healthy brain.