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Keywords:

  • Olig;
  • Nkx2.2;
  • oligodendrocyte;
  • astrocyte;
  • differentiation

Abstract

Recent results from multiple laboratories have identified Olig genes as important in regulating glial differentiation. Here we show that Olig2 expression at early stages of development (prior to E16.5) identifies a domain in the developing spinal cord, which contains a heterogeneous population of progenitors that includes stem cells and glial progenitors. We show that Nkx2.2 and Olig2, which are present initially in nonoverlapping domains, are coexpressed at later stages, likely due to a second wave of Olig expression. We find that Olig1, like Olig2, is present in cells that coexpress astrocytic and radial glial markers and that Olig1/2 double knockouts lead to a loss of oligodendrocytes with preservation of NG2 expression. These results coupled with previously published data indicate that Olig1/2 and Nkx2.2, while clearly important in regulating early progenitor cell differentiation, do not unambiguously demonstrate the existence of an oligodendrocyte-neuron precursor or negate the existing retroviral lineage and clonal analysis data that suggest the existence of other types of precursors such as oligodendrocyte-astrocyte precursors or neuronal precursors. Published 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.