Contributions of Single-Cell Approaches for Probing Heterogeneity and Dynamics of Neural Progenitors Throughout Life: Concise Review

Stem Cells. 2019 Nov;37(11):1381-1388. doi: 10.1002/stem.3071. Epub 2019 Aug 20.


Development of the forebrain occurs in a stepwise manner from a pool of neural progenitors (NPs), which differs over space and time to produce distinct progenies. The sequence of events leading to the generation of the exquisite complexity of cell types that compose this tissue has been described in great detail at the population level. Recent advances in histology and transcriptomics have allowed probing spatial and temporal heterogeneity and dynamics of NPs at the single-cell level. Clonal fate mapping studies highlight a deterministic behavior as well as the existence of trajectories in the lineage progression of prenatal and postnatal NPs, whereas single-cell transcriptomic studies shed new light on the transcriptional signatures of these processes. Here, we review this recent work and integrate it to our current understanding of forebrain germinal activity at prenatal and postnatal time points. Stem Cells 2019;37:1381-1388.

Keywords: Clonal assays; Developmental biology; Gene expression; In vivo tracking; Nervous system; Neural differentiation; Neural stem cells; Progenitor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*