EGFL7: a new player in homeostasis of the nervous system

Frank Bicker, Mirko H H Schmidt
Cell Cycle 2010 April 1, 9 (7): 1263-9
EGFL7 drives the formation of neurons from neural stem cells. In the embryonic and adult brain this process is essential for neurogenesis and homeostasis of the nervous system. The function of adult neurogenesis is not fully understood but maybe it supports life-long learning and brain repair after injuries such as stroke. The transition of neural stem cells into mature neurons is tightly regulated. One of the essential signaling pathways governing this process is the Notch pathway, which controls metazoan development. In a recent publication, we identified a novel non-canonical Notch ligand, EGFL7, and described its impact on neural stem cells. We explored the molecular mechanisms, which this molecule affects to regulate the self-renewal capacity of neural stem cells and to promote their differentiation into neurons. In this review, we discuss the implications of our findings for adult neurogenesis and illustrate the potential of EGFL7 to serve as an agent to increase neurogenesis and the self-renewal potential of the brain

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