Region-specific reprogramming of astrocytes

25 Jul 2021

New work by a team of stem-cell researchers led by Magdalena Götz and Giacomo Masserdotti published in Cell Reports.

To some degree, dead or damaged nerve cells can be replaced – by direct neuronal reprogramming. For instance, this process can convert astrocytes into nerve cells. The site of origin of the astrocytes in the nervous system seems to influence the generation of region-specific subtypes of nerve cells. Here, a distinct pair of transcription factors transformed astrocytes from the spinal cord into nerve cells similar to interneurons, and this was quite different from those obtained from astrocytes from the forebrain.

J. Kempf, K. Knelles, B.A. Hersbach, D. Petrik, T. Riedemann, V. Bednarova, A. Janjic, T. Simon-Ebert, W. Enard, P. Smialowski, M. Götz and G. Masserdotti: Heterogeneity of neurons reprogrammed from spinal cord astrocytes by the proneural factors Ascl1 and Neurogenin2. Cell Reports, 2021

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