Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Managing the Neural Production Line

Science's STKE  21 Mar 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 327, pp. tw103
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3272006tw103

Neural progenitors in the developing brain interact with neighboring cells through αE-catenin-containing adherens junctions. Lien et al. (see the Perspective by DiCicco-Bloom) found that conditional knockout of the αE-catenin gene during embryonic brain development resulted in mice whose brains at birth contained twice as many cells as normal. It seems that the area of cell surface occupied by adherens junctions defines the density of cells and regulates cellular proliferation such that enough, but not too many, brain cells are produced.

W.-H. Lien, O. Klezovitch, T. E. Fernandez, J. Delrow, V. Vasioukhin, αE-catenin controls cerebral cortical size by regulating the hedgehog signaling pathway. Science 311, 1609-1612 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

E. DiCicco-Bloom, Neuron, know thy neighbor. Science 311, 1560-1562 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]