Cytoskeletal dynamics during in vitro neurogenesis of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

Claudia Compagnucci, Emanuela Piermarini, Antonella Sferra, Rossella Borghi, Alessia Niceforo, Stefania Petrini, Fiorella Piemonte, Enrico Bertini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a novel tool to investigate the pathophysiology of poorly known diseases, in particular those affecting the nervous system, which has been difficult to study for its lack of accessibility. In this emerging and promising field, recent iPSCs studies are mostly used as “proof-of-principle” experiments that are confirmatory of previous findings obtained from animal models and postmortem human studies; its promise as a discovery tool is just beginning to be realized. A recent number of studies point to the functional similarities between in vitro neurogenesis and in vivo neuronal development, suggesting that similar morphogenetic and patterning events direct neuronal differentiation. In this context, neuronal adhesion, cytoskeletal organization and cell metabolism emerge as an integrated and unexplored processes of human neurogenesis, mediated by the lack of data due to the difficult accessibility of the human neural tissue. These observations raise the necessity to understand which are the players controlling cytoskeletal reorganization and remodeling. In particular, we investigated human in vitro neurogenesis using iPSCs of healthy subjects to unveil the underpinnings of the cytoskeletal dynamics with the aim to shed light on the physiologic events controlling the development and the functionality of neuronal cells. We validate the iPSCs system to better understand the development of the human nervous system in order to set the bases for the future understanding of pathologies including developmental disorders (i.e. intellectual disability), epilepsy but also neurodegenerative disorders (i.e. Friedreich's Ataxia). We investigate the changes of the cytoskeletal components during the 30 days of neuronal differentiation and we demonstrate that human neuronal differentiation requires a (time-dependent) reorganization of actin filaments, intermediate filaments and microtubules; and that immature neurons present a finely regulated localization of Glu-, Tyr- and Acet-TUBULINS. This study advances our understanding on cytoskeletal dynamics with the hope to pave the way for future therapies that could be potentially able to target cytoskeletal based neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Actin filaments
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
  • Intermediate filaments
  • Microtubules
  • Neuritogenesis
  • Neurogenesis
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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