Neurons are continuously produced in brains of adult mammalian organisms throughout life-a process tightly regulated to ensure a balanced homeostasis. In the adult brain, quiescent Neural Stem Cells (NSCs) residing in distinct niches engage in proliferation, to self-renew and to give rise to differentiated neurons and astrocytes. The mechanisms governing the intricate regulation of NSC quiescence and neuronal differentiation are not completely understood. Here, we report the expression of Protein S (PROS1) in adult NSCs, and show that genetic ablation of Pros1 in neural progenitors increased hippocampal NSC proliferation by 47%. We show that PROS1 regulates the balance of NSC quiescence and proliferation, also affecting daughter cell fate. We identified the PROS1-dependent downregulation of Notch1 signaling to correlate with NSC exit from quiescence. Notch1 and Hes5 mRNA levels were rescued by reintroducing Pros1 into NCS or by supplementation with purified PROS1, suggesting the regulation of Notch pathway by PROS1. Although Pros1-ablated NSCs show multilineage differentiation, we observed a 36% decrease in neurogenesis, coupled with a similar increase in astrogenesis, suggesting PROS1 is instructive for neurogenesis, and plays a role in fate determination, also seen in aged mice. Rescue experiments indicate PROS1 is secreted by NSCs and functions by a NSC-endogenous mechanism. Our study identifies a duple role for PROS1 in stem-cell quiescence and as a pro-neurogenic factor, and highlights a unique segregation of increased stem cell proliferation from enhanced neuronal differentiation, providing important insight into the regulation and control of NSC quiescence and differentiation. Stem Cells 2017;35:679-693.
Keywords: Neural stem cells; Neurogenesis; Notch; Proliferation; Protein S; Quiescence.
© 2016 AlphaMed Press.