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Science 297 (5580): 365-369

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Regulation of Cerebral Cortical Size by Control of Cell Cycle Exit in Neural Precursors

Anjen Chenn,12* Christopher A. Walsh2dagger

Transgenic mice expressing a stabilized beta -catenin in neural precursors develop enlarged brains with increased cerebral cortical surface area and folds resembling sulci and gyri of higher mammals. Brains from transgenic animals have enlarged lateral ventricles lined with neuroepithelial precursor cells, reflecting an expansion of the precursor population. Compared with wild-type precursors, a greater proportion of transgenic precursors reenter the cell cycle after mitosis. These results show that beta -catenin can function in the decision of precursors to proliferate or differentiate during mammalian neuronal development and suggest that beta -catenin can regulate cerebral cortical size by controlling the generation of neural precursor cells.

1 Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2 Division of Neurogenetics, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
*   Present address: Department of Pathology, Northwestern University School of Medicine, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-3008, USA.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cwalsh{at}

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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882