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Keywords:

  • neural stem cell;
  • neuronal differentiation;
  • transcription factor

Abstract

In the mammalian brain, neural stem and progenitor cells in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus generate new neurons throughout adulthood. The generation of new functional neurons is a complex process that is tightly controlled by extrinsic signals and that is characterized by stage-specific gene expression programs and cell biological processes. The transcription factors regulating such stage-specific developmental steps in adult neurogenesis are largely unknown. Here we report that Sox11, a member of the group C Sox transcription factor family, is prominently expressed in the neurogenic areas of the adult brain. Further analysis revealed that Sox11 expression is strictly confined to doublecortin-expressing neuronally committed precursors and immature neurons but that Sox11 is not expressed in non-committed Sox2-expressing precursor cells and mature neurons of the adult neurogenic lineage. Finally, overexpression of Sox11 promotes the generation of doublecortin-positive immature neurons from adult neural stem cells in vitro. These data indicate that Sox11 is involved in the transcriptional regulation of specific gene expression programs in adult neurogenesis at the stage of the immature neuron.