Emx2 promotes symmetric cell divisions and a multipotential fate in precursors from the cerebral cortex

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Nov;18(5):485-502. doi: 10.1006/mcne.2001.1046.


Distinct sets of precursor cells generate the mammalian cerebral cortex. During neurogenesis most precursors are specified to generate a single cell type and only few are multipotent. The cell-intrinsic molecular determinants of these distinct lineages are not known. Here we describe that retroviral transduction of the transcription factor Emx2 in precursors from the cerebral cortex results in a significant increase of large clones that are generated mostly by symmetric cell divisions and contain multiple cell types, comprising neurons and glial cells. Thus, Emx2 is the first cell-intrinsic determinant able to instruct CNS precursors towards a multipotential fate. To evaluate the role of endogenous Emx2 in cortical precursors, we examined cell division in Emx2-/- mice. These analyses further supported the role of endogenous Emx2 in the regulation of symmetric cell divisions in the developing cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Division / genetics*
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Clone Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Genes, Reporter / physiology
  • Genetic Vectors / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / deficiency
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • empty spiracles homeobox proteins