NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Discovers First Ever Selector Gene for Neurons
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Paola Arlotta, of Harvard University, published her latest work on gene co-regulation in Nature Neuroscience.
The regulatory logic, or rules, that orchestrate the expression of the unique combinations of genes in each neuron class is unknown. In this study the scientists discovered that Fezf2 is the first selector gene able to regulate on its own the expression of large batteries of genes that collectively define corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN). CSMN are one specific class of cortical neurons responsible for the initiation and fine execution of motor function.These neurons are affected in diseases like ALS and are injured in spinal cord injury.
This is the first discovery of a selector gene for any class of neurons of the cerebral cortex and will aid efforts to program CSMN from stem cells in order to model disease affecting CSMN in vivo.