News Article

A Further Step toward Understanding the Activity of Stem Cells in the Vertebrate Brain

Stem cells of adult individuals usually reside in a quiescent state. How and when they enter into cell cycle and how the cell population controls this activity is largely unknown. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to develop approaches that help to understand the coordination of cell divisions.

Zebrafish brain cells - the cell bodies of neural stem cells appear in green on the ventricle surface. One of these cells was transfected with a membrane localized red fluorescent protein and appears in magenta. © HMGU

In a study published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, Dr. Prisca Chapouton of the Research Unit Sensory Biology and Organogenesis (SBO), in collaboration with Dr. Stefanie Hauck of the Research Unit Protein Science (PROT) and Jovica Ninkovic of the Institute of Stem Cell Research (ISF), has now contributed to a further step in elucidating the activity of neural stem cells. The scientist used the advantageous architecture of the zebrafish brain to isolate the proteins present in intact neural stem cells located directly on the surface of the brain.

"We discovered using this proteomics approach that adult neural stem cells are connected by filopodia," said Chapouton. “This discovery is so interesting because these filopodial extensions could play an important role in stem cell communication.“

The team of scientists also found that expression of the IGF receptor decreased with age. "The expression of insulin-like growth factor induced an increase in cell division events in young cells while aging neural stem cells responded with incomplete cell division," said Chapouton. "The result confirms the importance of cell-intrinsic changes in aging stem cells, i.e. changes that are also expressed under activating conditions.

Further Information

Original publication:
Obermann et al. (2019): TThe surface proteome of adult neural stem cells in zebrafish unveils long range cell-cell connections and age-related changes in responsiveness to IGF; Stem Cell Reports

Dr. Stefanie Hauck
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