Area-Specific Regulation of Quiescent Neural Stem Cells by Notch3 in the Adult Mouse Subependymal Zone

Hiroki Kawai, Daichi Kawaguchi, Benjamin D Kuebrich, Takeo Kitamoto, Masahiro Yamaguchi, Yukiko Gotoh, Shohei Furutachi
Journal of Neuroscience 2017 December 6, 37 (49): 11867-11880
In the adult mammalian brain, neural stem cells (NSCs) generate new neurons throughout the mammal's lifetime. The balance between quiescence and active cell division among NSCs is crucial in producing appropriate numbers of neurons while maintaining the stem cell pool for a long period. The Notch signaling pathway plays a central role in both maintaining quiescent NSCs (qNSCs) and promoting cell division of active NSCs (aNSCs), although no one knows how this pathway regulates these apparently opposite functions. Notch1 has been shown to promote proliferation of aNSCs without affecting qNSCs in the adult mouse subependymal zone (SEZ). In this study, we found that Notch3 is expressed to a higher extent in qNSCs than in aNSCs while Notch1 is preferentially expressed in aNSCs and transit-amplifying progenitors in the adult mouse SEZ. Furthermore, Notch3 is selectively expressed in the lateral and ventral walls of the SEZ. Knockdown of Notch3 in the lateral wall of the adult SEZ increased the division of NSCs. Moreover, deletion of the Notch3 gene resulted in significant reduction of qNSCs specifically in the lateral and ventral walls, compared with the medial and dorsal walls, of the lateral ventricles. Notch3 deletion also reduced the number of qNSCs activated after antimitotic cytosine β-D-arabinofuranoside (Ara-C) treatment. Importantly, Notch3 deletion preferentially reduced specific subtypes of newborn neurons in the olfactory bulb derived from the lateral walls of the SEZ. These results indicate that Notch isoforms differentially control the quiescent and proliferative steps of adult SEZ NSCs in a domain-specific manner. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the adult mammalian brain, the subependymal zone (SEZ) of the lateral ventricles is the largest neurogenic niche, where neural stem cells (NSCs) generate neurons. In this study, we found that Notch3 plays an important role in the maintenance of quiescent NSCs (qNSCs), while Notch1 has been reported to act as a regulator of actively cycling NSCs. Furthermore, we found that Notch3 is specifically expressed in qNSCs located in the lateral and ventral walls of the lateral ventricles and regulates neuronal production of NSCs in a region-specific manner. Our results indicate that Notch3, by maintaining the quiescence of a subpopulation of NSCs, confers a region-specific heterogeneity among NSCs in the adult SEZ.


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