Signaling-Dependent Control of Apical Membrane Size and Self-Renewal in Rosette-Stage Human Neuroepithelial Stem Cells

Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Jun 5;10(6):1751-1765. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.04.018. Epub 2018 May 17.


In the developing nervous system, neural stem cells are polarized and maintain an apical domain facing a central lumen. The presence of apical membrane is thought to have a profound influence on maintaining the stem cell state. With the onset of neurogenesis, cells lose their polarization, and the concomitant loss of the apical domain coincides with a loss of the stem cell identity. Little is known about the molecular signals controlling apical membrane size. Here, we use two neuroepithelial cell systems, one derived from regenerating axolotl spinal cord and the other from human embryonic stem cells, to identify a molecular signaling pathway initiated by lysophosphatidic acid that controls apical membrane size and consequently controls and maintains epithelial organization and lumen size in neuroepithelial rosettes. This apical domain size increase occurs independently of effects on proliferation and involves a serum response factor-dependent transcriptional induction of junctional and apical membrane components.

Keywords: apical domain; cell polarization; human embryonic stem cells; lumen formation/organization; lysophosphatidic acid; neural progenitor cells; neural rosettes; neural stem cells; neuroepithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Self Renewal*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Lysophospholipids / pharmacology
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Neuroepithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis* / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Tight Junctions
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Biomarkers
  • Lysophospholipids
  • lysophosphatidic acid