Orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1 induces neuron differentiation from embryonic cortical precursor cells via an extrinsic paracrine mechanism

FEBS Lett. 2009 May 6;583(9):1505-10. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 Apr 10.


Nurr1 is an orphan nuclear receptor-type transcription factor (TF) that plays critical roles in midbrain dopamine neuron development. This study demonstrated a novel role for Nurr1 in neuronal/astrocytic differentiation of neural precursor (NP) cells isolated from rat embryonic cortices: overexpression of this TF promoted NP cell differentiation towards neurons at the expense of astrocytic differentiation. Single cell-based lineage analyses and experiments using co-cultures revealed that Nurr1 elicited its neurogenic role in an extrinsic paracrine manner. We defined diffusible factors and downstream neurogenic TFs responsible for the Nurr1-mediated neuronal differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 4, Group A, Member 2
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nr4a2 protein, rat
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 4, Group A, Member 2
  • Transcription Factors