RGCC balances self-renewal and neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells in the developing mammalian neocortex

EMBO Rep. 2021 Sep 6;22(9):e51781. doi: 10.15252/embr.202051781. Epub 2021 Jul 29.


During neocortical development, neural stem cells (NSCs) divide symmetrically to self-renew at the early stage and then divide asymmetrically to generate post-mitotic neurons. The molecular mechanisms regulating the balance between NSC self-renewal and neurogenesis are not fully understood. Using mouse in utero electroporation (IUE) technique and in vitro human NSC differentiation models including cerebral organoids (hCOs), we show here that regulator of cell cycle (RGCC) modulates NSC self-renewal and neuronal differentiation by affecting cell cycle regulation and spindle orientation. RGCC deficiency hampers normal cell cycle process and dysregulates the mitotic spindle, thus driving more cells to divide asymmetrically. These modulations diminish the NSC population and cause NSC pre-differentiation that eventually leads to brain developmental malformation in hCOs. We further show that RGCC might regulate NSC spindle orientation by affecting the organization of centrosome and microtubules. Our results demonstrate that RGCC is essential to maintain the NSC pool during cortical development and suggest that RGCC defects could have etiological roles in human brain malformations.

Keywords: RGCC; brain malformation; cerebral organoid; neural stem cell; spindle orientation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Mice
  • Neocortex*
  • Neural Stem Cells*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neurons

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE173391