During early cortical development, neural stem cells (NSCs) divide symmetrically to expand the progenitor pool, whereas, in later stages, NSCs divide asymmetrically to self-renew and produce other cell types. The timely switch from such proliferative to differentiative division critically determines progenitor and neuron numbers. However, the mechanisms that limit proliferative division in late cortical development are not fully understood. Here, we show that the BAF (mSWI/SNF) complexes restrict proliferative competence and promote neuronal differentiation in late corticogenesis. Inactivation of BAF complexes leads to H3K27me3-linked silencing of neuronal differentiation-related genes, with concurrent H3K4me2-mediated activation of proliferation-associated genes via de-repression of Wnt signaling. Notably, the deletion of BAF complexes increased proliferation of neuroepithelial cell-like NSCs, impaired neuronal differentiation, and exerted a Wnt-dependent effect on neocortical and hippocampal development. Thus, these results demonstrate that BAF complexes act as both activators and repressors to control global epigenetic and gene expression programs in late corticogenesis.
Keywords: BAF (mSWI/SNF) complexes; H3K27me3; H3K4me2; chromatin remodeling; cortical development; epigenetics; hippocampal development; neural stem cells; neurogenesis.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.