A population of Nestin-expressing progenitors in the cerebellum exhibits increased tumorigenicity.

Journal: 
Nat Neurosci
Publication Year: 
2013
Authors: 
Peng Li
Fang Du
Larra W Yuelling
Tiffany Lin
Renata E Muradimova
Rossella Tricarico
Jun Wang
Grigori Enikolopov
Alfonso Bellacosa
Robert J Wechsler-Reya
Zeng-jie Yang
PubMed link: 
24141309
Public Summary: 
t is generally believed that cerebellar granule neurons originate exclusively from granule neuron precursors (GNPs) in the external germinal layer (EGL). Here we identified a rare population of neuronal progenitors in mouse developing cerebellum that expresses Nestin. Although Nestin is widely considered a marker for multipotent stem cells, these Nestin-expressing progenitors (NEPs) are committed to the granule neuron lineage. Unlike conventional GNPs, which reside in the outer EGL and proliferate extensively, NEPs reside in the deep part of the EGL and are quiescent. Expression profiling revealed that NEPs are distinct from GNPs and, in particular, express markedly reduced levels of genes associated with DNA repair. Consistent with this, upon aberrant activation of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling, NEPs exhibited more severe genomic instability and gave rise to tumors more efficiently than GNPs. These studies revealed a previously unidentified progenitor for cerebellar granule neurons and a cell of origin for medulloblastoma.
Scientific Abstract: 
It is generally believed that cerebellar granule neurons originate exclusively from granule neuron precursors (GNPs) in the external germinal layer (EGL). Here we identified a rare population of neuronal progenitors in mouse developing cerebellum that expresses Nestin. Although Nestin is widely considered a marker for multipotent stem cells, these Nestin-expressing progenitors (NEPs) are committed to the granule neuron lineage. Unlike conventional GNPs, which reside in the outer EGL and proliferate extensively, NEPs reside in the deep part of the EGL and are quiescent. Expression profiling revealed that NEPs are distinct from GNPs and, in particular, express markedly reduced levels of genes associated with DNA repair. Consistent with this, upon aberrant activation of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling, NEPs exhibited more severe genomic instability and gave rise to tumors more efficiently than GNPs. These studies revealed a previously unidentified progenitor for cerebellar granule neurons and a cell of origin for medulloblastoma.