The significance of gene expression dynamics in neural stem cell regulation

Ryoichiro KAGEYAMA, Shohei OCHI, Risa SUEDA, Hiromi SHIMOJO

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Neural stem cells (NSCs) actively proliferate and generate neurons and glial cells (active state) in the embryonic brain, whereas they are mostly dormant (quiescent state) in the adult brain. The expression dynamics of Hes1 are different between active and quiescent NSCs. In active NSCs, Hes1 expression oscillates and periodically represses the expression of proneural genes such as Ascl1, thereby driving their oscillations. By contrast, in quiescent NSCs, Hes1 oscillations maintain expression at higher levels even at trough phases (thus continuous), thereby continuously suppressing proneural gene expression. High levels of Hes1 expression and the resultant suppression of Ascl1 promote the quiescent state of NSCs, whereas oscillatory Hes1 expression and the resultant oscillatory Ascl1 expression regulate their active state. Furthermore, in other developmental contexts, high, continuous Hes1 expression induces astrocyte differentiation or the formation of boundaries, which function as signaling centers. Thus, the expression dynamics of Hes1 are a key regulatory mechanism generating and maintaining various cell types in the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-363
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Japan Academy Series B: Physical and Biological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • active state
  • bHLH factor
  • boundary cell
  • neural stem cell
  • oscillation
  • quiescent state


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