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Neurogenesis in the adult brain

Neurogenesis in the subventricular zone

Production and functional integration of new neurons have been shown to persist throughout life in two specialized neurogenic regions of the adult brain: the lateral ventricle subventricular zone (SVZ) and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the neurogenic potential in these areas could open up new avenues for the development of cell replacement therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Ciliary neurotrophic factor and other gp130-associated cytokines have been identified to be among the extracellular signals which regulate proliferation and cell fate decisions of neural stem cells. By in vivo experiments using mouse mutants and by in vitro studies in adult stem cell cultures we aim to elucidate how these cytokines exert their influence on neural stem cells.

STAT3 signaling in adult neurogenesis

A complex dynamic molecular network of extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulates self-renewal and differentiation of neural stem cells (NSC). The JAK/STAT3-pathway has been shown to play a central role in this context. In a collaborative project with the research group Heimrich from the ZfN and the Department of Virology, we try to elucidate molecular mechanisms downstream of STAT3 by manipulating the STAT3-signaling pathway in a cell type-/stage-specific manner using organotypic slice cultures and viruses which induce expression of fluorescent markers. Migration, fate decisions and differentiation of NSCs and progenitor cells will then be studied by morphological methods and time-lapse microscopy.


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