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Sci. STKE, 30 October 2007
Vol. 2007, Issue 410, p. pe58
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.4102007pe58]


Neurons or Glia? Can SHP2 Know It All?

Volkan Coskun, Jing Zhao, and Yi E. Sun*

Mental Retardation Research Center, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neuropsychiatric Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, 635 Charles E. Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Abstract: Normal development of the nervous system relies on the spatially and temporally well-controlled differentiation of neurons and glia. Here, we discuss the intra- and extracellular molecular mechanisms that underlie the sequential genesis of neurons and glia, emphasizing recent studies describing the role of a signaling molecule, the tyrosine phosphatase SHP2, in normal brain development. Activation of SHP2 simultaneously enhances downstream activation of the MEK-ERK pathway, which subsequently promotes neurogenesis, while inhibiting the JAK-STAT pathway, which is critical for astroglial differentiation. Mutations in SHP2 that increase its tyrosine phosphatase activity cause a mental retardation–related disorder, Noonan syndrome. An imbalance in neurogenesis versus gliogenesis due to SHP2 mutations may contribute to Noonan syndrome.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: ysun{at}

Citation: V. Coskun, J. Zhao, Y. E. Sun, Neurons or Glia? Can SHP2 Know It All? Sci. STKE 2007, pe58 (2007).

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