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Keywords:

  • heterophilic NCAM interactions;
  • in vivo electroporation of postnatal mice;
  • olfactory neurogenesis;
  • PSA-NCAM

Abstract

Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) plays an important role during neural development and in the adult brain, whereby most functions of NCAM have been ascribed to its unique polysialic acid (PSA) modification. Recently we presented evidence suggesting that expression of NCAM in vivo interferes with the maintenance of forebrain neuronal stem cells. We here aimed at investigating the fate of cells generated from NCAM-overexpressing stem cells in postnatal mouse brain and at elucidating the functional domains of NCAM mediating this effect. We show that ectopic expression of the NCAM140 isoform in radial glia and type C cells induces an increase in cell proliferation and consequently the presence of additional neuronal type A cells in the rostral migratory stream. A mutant NCAM protein comprising only fibronectin type III repeats and immunoglobulin-like domain 5 was sufficient to induce this effect. Furthermore, we show that the neurogenic effect is independent of PSA, as transgenic NCAM is not polysialylated in radial glia and type C cells. These results suggest that heterophilic interactions of NCAM with other components of the cell membrane must be involved.