Regulatory genes controlling cell fate choice in embryonic and adult neural stem cells

Rosaria Maria Rita Gangemi, Marzia Perera, Giorgio Corte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural stem cells are the most immature progenitor cells in the nervous system and are defined by their ability to self-renew by symmetric division as well as to give rise to more mature progenitors of all neural lineages by asymmetric division (multipotentiality). The interest in neural stem cells has been growing in the past few years following the demonstration of their presence also in the adult nervous system of several mammals, including humans. This observation implies that the brain, once thought to be entirely post-mitotic, must have at least a limited capacity for self-renewal. This raises the possibility that the adult nervous system may still have the necessary plasticity to undergo repair of inborn defects and acquired injuries, if ways can be found to exploit the potential of neural stem cells (either endogenous or derived from other sources) to replace damaged or defective cells. A full understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating generation and maintenance of neural stem cells, their choice between different differentiation programmes and their migration properties is essential if these cells are to be used for therapeutic applications. Here, we summarize what is currently known of the genes and the signalling pathways involved in these mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-306
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Asymmetric division
  • Cell fate
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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