Calling New Neurons

Science's STKE  28 Jun 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 290, pp. tw236
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2902005tw236

Most neurogenesis in the brain occurs in the context of early development. However, even through adulthood, a steady stream of newly generated neurons supplies the olfactory bulb. Neuronal progenitors from the subventricular zone of the brain migrate together as a chain to the olfactory bulb. Ng et al. have now identified prokineticin 2 (PK2) as one of the signals that calls the neurons to their destination. Prokineticin proteins are secreted, and in other locations they also regulate processes such as gastrointestinal motility and pain sensitization. The mammalian retina, like other regions of the brain, develops in a sequential manner. Cells of a given function are born earlier, whereas those born later are dedicated to other functions. Kim et al. have clarified how one signaling molecule, growth and differentiation factor 11 (GDF11), affects this trajectory of differentiation differently in the retina than in the olfactory epithelium. In the developing retina, GDF11 does not affect proliferation of progenitor cells, as it does in the olfactory epithelium, but signals to the progenitor cells competence to produce certain types of differentiated cells.

K. L. Ng, J.-D. Li, M. Y. Cheng, F. M. Leslie, A. G. Lee, Q.-Y. Zhou, Dependence of olfactory bulb neurogenesis on prokineticin 2 signaling. Science 308, 1923-1927 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Kim, H.-H. Wu, A. D. Lander, K. M. Lyons, M. M. Matzuk, A. L. Calof, GDF11 controls the timing of progenitor cell competence in developing retina. Science 308, 1927-1930 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]