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Neurogenesis (Austin) 2015 Jan 01;21:e1049733. doi: 10.1080/23262133.2015.1049733.
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Multi-site phospho-regulation of proneural transcription factors controls proliferation versus differentiation in development and reprogramming.

Philpott A .

During development of the nervous system, it is essential to co-ordinate the processes of proliferation and differentiation. Basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors play a central role in controlling neuronal differentiation and maturation as well as being components of the combinatorial code that determines neuronal identity. We have recently shown that the ability of the proneural proteins Ngn2 and Ascl1 to drive neuronal differentiation is inhibited by cyclin dependent kinase-mediated multi-site phosphorylation. This limits downstream target promoter dwell time, thus demonstrating a direct mechanistic regulatory link between the cell cycle and differentiation machinery.Proneural proteins are key components of transcription factor cocktails that can bring about the direct reprogramming of human fibroblasts into neurons. Building on our observations demonstrating that phospho-mutant proneural proteins show an enhanced ability to drive neuronal differentiation in vivo, we see that replacing wild-type with phospho-mutant proneural proteins in fibroblast reprogramming cocktails significantly enhances the axonal outgrowth, branching and electrophysiological maturity of the neurons generated. A model is presented here that can explain the enhanced ability of dephosphorylated proneural proteins to drive neuronal differentiation, and some unanswered questions in this emerging area are highlighted.

PubMed ID: 27502783
PMC ID: PMC4973605
Article link: Neurogenesis (Austin)
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: ascl1 neurod1 neurog2

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Ali, The phosphorylation status of Ascl1 is a key determinant of neuronal differentiation and maturation in vivo and in vitro. 2014, Pubmed, Xenbase