From stem cells to neurons and glia: a Soxist's view of neural development

Trends Neurosci. 2005 Nov;28(11):583-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2005.08.008. Epub 2005 Aug 31.


During nervous system development, neural stem cells give rise to many different types of neurons and glia over an extended period. Little is known about the intrinsic factors that regulate stem-cell maintenance, decide whether neurons or glia are generated, or control terminal differentiation. Transcription factors of the Sox family provide important clues about the control of these events. In the central nervous system (CNS), Sox1, Sox2 and Sox3 are required for stem-cell maintenance, and their effects are counteracted by Sox21. Sox9, by contrast, alters the potential of stem cells from neurogenic to gliogenic, whereas Sox10 is essential for terminal oligodendrocyte differentiation. In the peripheral nervous system (PNS) the same Sox proteins have different functions, uncovering important developmental differences between the CNS and PNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / cytology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Transcription Factors