Regulation of neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation by Kinesin family member 2a

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 7;12(6):e0179047. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179047. eCollection 2017.


In the developing neocortex, cells in the ventricular/subventricular zone are largely multipotent neural stem cells and neural progenitor cells. These cells undergo self-renewal at the early stage of embryonic development to amplify the progenitor pool and subsequently differentiate into neurons. It is thus of considerable interest to investigate mechanisms controlling the switch from neural stem cells or neural progenitor cells to neurons. Here, we present evidence that Kif2a, a member of the Kinesin-13 family, plays a role in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells or neural progenitor cells at embryonic day 13.5. Silencing Kif2a by use of in utero electroporation of Kif2a shRNA reduced neural stem cells proliferation or self-renewal but increased neuronal differentiation. We further found that knockdown of Kif2a decreased the protein level of β-catenin, which is a critical molecule for neocortical neurogenesis. Together, these results reveal an important function of Kif2a in embryonic neocortical neurogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Neocortex / growth & development
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis / genetics*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • beta Catenin / genetics*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Repressor Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • KIF2A protein, mouse
  • Kinesins

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Program of International S and T Cooperation (2015DFA31580), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31401192, 31271486), the Jilin Provincial Key Laboratory of Neural Plasticity (20160622020JC) and China scholarship council (201506620038). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.