The cell biology of neural stem and progenitor cells and its significance for their proliferation versus differentiation during mammalian brain development

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Dec;20(6):707-15. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Nov 5.


The switch of neural stem and progenitor cells from proliferation to differentiation during development is a crucial determinant of brain size. This switch is intimately linked to the architecture of the two principal classes of neural stem and progenitor cells, the apical (neuroepithelial, radial glial) and basal (intermediate) progenitors, which in turn is crucial for their symmetric versus asymmetric divisions. Focusing on the developing rodent neocortex, we discuss here recent advances in understanding the cell biology of apical and basal progenitors, place key regulatory molecules into subcellular context, and highlight their roles in the control of proliferation versus differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / cytology
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism