The central nervous system of the mammalian embryo is organized according to the expression of region-specific transcription factors along the anteroposterior and/or the dorsoventral axis. For example, the dorsal ventricular zone (VZ) of the embryonic spinal cord expresses Pax3 and Pax7, the ventral VZ expresses Pax6, and the more ventral VZ expresses Nkx2.2. Properties of neuronal precursors located in the VZ are determined by the characteristic expression patterns of these transcription factors, leading to the generation of distinct classes of neurons. Recent studies demonstrated that radial glial cells produce neurons in addition to glia during central nervous system development. Thus, neuronal precursor diversity may be dependent upon the diversity of radial glial cells. To investigate this hypothesis, we analyzed the expression of radial glial cell markers and transcription factors in the mouse embryonic spinal cord. We show that radial glial cells indeed express domain-specific transcription factor. Moreover, they varied in expression of the astrocyte-specific glutamate transporter. The region where the astrocyte-specific glutamate transporter is strongly expressed in the ventral radial glial cells is closely related to the Pax6-expressing domain, and the weakly expressing region corresponding to the Nkx2.2-expressing domain. Furthermore, dorsal radial fibers expressed ephrin-B1. Thus, different types of radial glial cells exist in different domains defined by the transcription factor expression at E12.5. We also show that this diversity continues to the gliogenic stage of radial glial cells. This raises the idea that astrocytes generated from different domains along the dorsoventral axis in the mouse spinal cord have distinct characteristics.
- Astrocyte-specific glutamate transporter
- Brain lipid-binding protein
- Small eye mutant mice
- Spinal cord