Cave Lab
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Unexpected connections between adult neural stem cells and reactive astrocytes

RESEARCH PROJECT: 
In Progress

Astrocytes that act as neural stem cells in normal adult neurogenesis would seem to have little in common with reactive astrocytes generated by severe injury, but both types of astrocytes regulate cell adhesion gene expression in a manner similar to cellular epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions in neural development and cancer. This project explores transcription regulatory mechanisms that control cell adhesion gene expression. These studies test the overall hypothesis that Zeb2 regulates cell adhesion gene expression in both adult neural stem cells and reactive astrocytes through a common molecular mechanism. Using both in vivo and in vitro systems, this project investigates whether Zeb2 regulates E- and N-Cadherin expression both in the production of neural progenitors within the adult subventricular zone neurogenic niche and the formation of reactive astrocytes in the brain following severe injury. The studies will also establish whether ZEB2 protein expression in both types of astrocytes is controlled by JAK-STAT pathway activation of Zeb2os, an opposite strand, long non-coding RNA transcript.

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