ABSTRACT

Neural stem cells (NSCs) gradually alter their characteristics during mammalian neocortical development, resulting in the production of various neurons and glial cells, and remain in the postnatal brain as a source of adult neurogenesis. Notch-Hes signaling is a key regulator of stem cell properties in the developing and postnatal brain, and Hes1 is a major effector that strongly inhibits neuronal differentiation and maintains NSCs. To manipulate Hes1 expression levels in NSCs, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice using the Tet-On system. In Hes1-overexpressing Tg mice, NSCs were maintained in both embryonic and postnatal brains, and generation of later-born neurons was prolonged until later stages in the Tg neocortex. Hes1 overexpression inhibited the production of Tbr2+ intermediate progenitor cells but instead promoted the generation of basal radial glia-like cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) at late embryonic stages. Furthermore, Hes1-overexpressing Tg mice exhibited the expansion of NSCs and enhanced neurogenesis in the SVZ of adult brain. These results indicate that Hes1 overexpression expanded the embryonic NSC pool and led to the expansion of the NSC reservoir in the postnatal and adult brain.

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