RE-1 silencing transcription factor (REST), a master negative regulator of neuronal differentiation, controls neurogenesis by preventing the differentiation of neural stem cells. Here we focused on the role of REST in the early steps of differentiation and maturation of adult hippocampal progenitors (AHPs). REST knockdown promoted differentiation and affected the maturation of rat AHPs. Surprisingly, REST knockdown cells enhanced the differentiation of neighboring wild-type AHPs, suggesting that REST may play a non-cell-autonomous role. Gene expression analysis identified Secretogranin II (Scg2) as the major secreted REST target responsible for the non-cell-autonomous phenotype. Loss-of-function of Scg2 inhibited differentiation in vitro, and exogenous SCG2 partially rescued this phenotype. Knockdown of REST in neural progenitors in mice led to precocious maturation into neurons at the expense of mushroom spines in vivo. In summary, we found that, in addition to its cell-autonomous function, REST regulates differentiation and maturation of AHPs non-cell-autonomously via SCG2.
Significance statement: Our results reveal that REST regulates differentiation and maturation of neural progenitor cells in vitro by orchestrating both cell-intrinsic and non-cell-autonomous factors and that Scg2 is a major secretory target of REST with a differentiation-enhancing activity in a paracrine manner. In vivo, REST depletion causes accelerated differentiation of newborn neurons at the expense of spine defects, suggesting a potential role for REST in the timing of the maturation of granule neurons.
Keywords: REST/NRSF; SCG2; adult neurogenesis; microfludics; neurosecretory; stem cells.
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