Neurosphere formation is commonly used as a surrogate for neural stem cell (NSC) function but the relationship between neurosphere-initiating cells (NICs) and NSCs remains unclear. We prospectively identified, and isolated by flow cytometry, adult mouse lateral ventricle subventricular zone (SVZ) NICs as Glast(mid)EGFR(high)PlexinB2(high)CD24(-/low)O4/PSA-NCAM(-/low)Ter119/CD45(-) (GEPCOT) cells. They were highly mitotic and short-lived in vivo based on fate-mapping with Ascl1(CreERT2) and Dlx1(CreERT2). In contrast, pre-GEPCOT cells were quiescent, expressed higher Glast, and lower EGFR and PlexinB2. Pre-GEPCOT cells could not form neurospheres but expressed the stem cell markers Slc1a3-CreER(T), GFAP-CreER(T2), Sox2(CreERT2), and Gli1(CreERT2) and were long-lived in vivo. While GEPCOT NICs were ablated by temozolomide, pre-GEPCOT cells survived and repopulated the SVZ. Conditional deletion of the Bmi-1 polycomb protein depleted pre-GEPCOT and GEPCOT cells, though pre-GEPCOT cells were more dependent upon Bmi-1 for Cdkn2a (p16(Ink4a)) repression. Our data distinguish quiescent NSCs from NICs and make it possible to study their properties in vivo.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02669.001.
Keywords: Bmi-1; fate-mapping; forebrain; prospective identification; stem cell.
Copyright © 2014, Mich et al.