Direct visualization of microtubules using a genetic tool to analyse radial progenitor-astrocyte continuum in brain

Nat Commun. 2011 Aug 23:2:446. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1460.


Microtubule cytoskeletal dynamics of cortical progenitors and astroglial cells have critical roles in the emergence of normal functional organization of cerebral cortex and in disease processes such as tumorigenesis. However, tools to efficiently visualize these events are lacking. Here we describe a mouse genetic model to efficiently visualize and analyse radial progenitors, their astroglial progeny, and the microtubule cytoskeleton of these cells in the developing and adult brain. Using this tool, we demonstrate altered microtubule organization and capture dynamics in adenomatous polyposis coli-deficient radial progenitors. Further, using multiphoton microscopy, we show the utility of this tool in real-time imaging of astrocytes in living mouse brain and the short-term stable nature of astrocytes in cerebral cortex. Thus, this model will help explore the dynamics of radial progenitor/astrocyte development or dysfunction and the influence of microtubule functions during these events.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / chemistry
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice / genetics
  • Mice / growth & development
  • Mice / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microtubules / chemistry*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / chemistry
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins