Development of vertebrate nervous system is a complex process which involves differential gene expression and disruptions in this process or in the mature brain, may lead to neurological disorders and diseases. Extensive work that spanned several decades using rodent models and recent work on stem cells have helped uncover the intricate process of neuronal differentiation and maturation. There are various morphological changes, genetic and epigenetic modifications which occur during normal mammalian neural development, one of the chromatin modifications that controls vital gene expression are the posttranslational modifications on histone proteins, that controls accessibility of translational machinery. Among the histone modifiers, polycomb group proteins (PcGs), such as Ezh2, Eed and Suz12 form large protein complexes-polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2); while Ring1b and Bmi1 proteins form core of PRC1 along with accessory proteins such as Cbx, Hph, Rybp and Pcgfs catalyse histone modifications such as H3K27me3 and H2AK119ub1. PRC1 proteins are known to play critical role in X chromosome inactivation in females but they also repress the expression of key developmental genes and tightly regulate the mammalian neuronal development. In this review we have discussed the signalling pathways, morphogens and nuclear factors that initiate, regulate and maintain cells of the nervous system. Further, we have extensively reviewed the recent literature on the role of Ring1b and Bmi1 in mammalian neuronal development and differentiation; as well as highlighted questions that are still unanswered.
Keywords: BMI1; RING1B; canonical/noncanonical PRC1; epigenetics; neurogenesis.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.