Epigenetic control of neural precursor cell fate during development

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Jun;11(6):377-88. doi: 10.1038/nrn2810.


The temporally and spatially restricted nature of the differentiation capacity of cells in the neural lineage has been studied extensively in recent years. Epigenetic control of developmental genes, which is heritable through cell divisions, has emerged as a key mechanism defining the differentiation potential of cells. Short-term or reversible repression of developmental genes puts them in a 'poised state', ready to be activated in response to differentiation-inducing cues, whereas long-term or permanent repression of developmental genes restricts the cell fates they regulate. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms that underlie the establishment and regulation of differentiation potential along the neural lineage during development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Chromatin
  • RE1-silencing transcription factor
  • Repressor Proteins