The HMG-Box transcription factor SOX2 is expressed in neural progenitor populations throughout the developing and adult central nervous system and is necessary to maintain their progenitor identity. However, it is unclear whether SOX2 levels are uniformly expressed across all neural progenitor populations. In the developing dorsal telencephalon, two distinct populations of neural progenitors, radial glia and intermediate progenitor cells, are responsible for generating a majority of excitatory neurons found in the adult neocortex. Here we demonstrate, using both cellular and molecular analyses, that SOX2 is differentially expressed between radial glial and intermediate progenitor populations. Moreover, utilizing a SOX2(EGFP) mouse line, we show that this differential expression can be used to prospectively isolate distinct, viable populations of radial glia and intermediate cells for in vitro analysis. Given the limited repertoire of cell-surface markers currently available for neural progenitor cells, this provides an invaluable tool for prospectively identifying and isolating distinct classes of neural progenitor cells from the central nervous system.
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