Neurons from radial glia: the consequences of asymmetric inheritance

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Feb;13(1):34-41. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(03)00013-8.


Recent work suggests that radial glial cells represent many, if not most, of the neuronal progenitors in the developing cortex. Asymmetric cell division of radial glia results in the self-renewal of the radial glial cell and the birth of a neuron. Among the proteins that direct cell fate in Drosophila melanogaster that have known mammalian homologs, Numb is the best candidate to have a similar function in radial glia. During asymmetric divisions of radial glial cells, the basal cell may inherit the radial glial fibre, while the apical cell sequesters the majority of the Numb protein. We suggest two models that make opposite predictions as to whether the radial glia or nascent neuron inherit the radial glial fiber or the majority of the Numb protein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Hormones / genetics
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • numb protein, Drosophila