Neural stem cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles give rise to new interneurons of the olfactory bulb (OB) throughout life. SVZ/OB neurogenesis is influenced by olfactory network activity, which modulates the survival of new neurons during their integration into the OB network. Previous work suggested that such activity-dependent survival is regulated via the CREB signalling pathway. Curiously, CREB signalling is already active during the early developmental stages of adult SVZ/OB neurogenesis. To investigate the role of cell autonomous CREB signalling during early stages of adult SVZ/OB neurogenesis, we ablated CREB-pathway activity in the SVZ/OB neurogenic lineage using a retroviral strategy. Surprisingly, loss of CREB signalling resulted in increased cell death and loss of expression of the neurogenic transcription factor Pax 6, and of a subset of neuronal proteins in migrating neurons of the RMS. Moreover, post-migratory neurons in the OB displayed impaired dendritic development. These results demonstrate an essential role for CREB signalling in maturation of newborn neurons in the OB and uncover a novel role for CREB signalling in the survival and maintenance of neuronal gene expression during the early stages of SVZ/OB neurogenesis.
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