QB3 Postdoc Seminar: Examining Eph/ephrin signaling pathways that regulate adult neurogenesis and migration of hippocampal stem cells

Seminar | December 1 | 4:30-5:30 p.m. | 177 Stanley Hall

 Kira Mosher (David Schaffer lab)

 QB3 - California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences

Approximately two decades ago, the longstanding dogma that the adult CNS is incapable of generating new neurons was overturned with the acceptance that adult neurogenesis truly occurs in mammals. With this understanding also came excitement that in maintaining some level of plasticity in adulthood, diseased brains may be capable of regeneration. While adult neurogenesis has become an important and well-represented field of study, 20 years later much remains to be understood about how it is regulated and, furthermore, how it may be harnessed to treat the diseased brain. One of the challenges of understanding this process is that “neurogenic niches”, where neural stem cells (NSCs) reside, also contain many other cell types that communicate with and regulate the stem cells and one another through a repertoire of signaling mechanisms. The overall goal of my work is to identify and dissect signaling mechanisms between neurogenic niche cells that control NSC functions. I have identified two novel candidates that are expressed in various cells of the adult neurogenic niche and regulate NSCs. These candidates, ephrin-A4 and EphA4, are a known ligand-receptor pair that belong to a large family of proteins that mediate juxtacrine signaling. In my preliminary studies, EphA4-ephrinA4 signaling regulates NSC migration as well as the differentiation of adult NSCs into neurons. This signaling pair thus represents a potential target for controlling stem cell behavior.