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Mapping differentiation kinetics in the mouse retina reveals an extensive period of cell cycle protein expression in post-mitotic newborn neurons

Mapping differentiation kinetics in the mouse retina reveals an extensive period of cell cycle protein expression in post-mitotic newborn neurons

Developmental Dynamics 241(10): 1525-1544

Knowledge of gene expression kinetics around neuronal cell birth is required to dissect mechanisms underlying progenitor fate. Here, we timed cell cycle and neuronal protein silencing/induction during cell birth in the developing murine retina. The pan-cell cycle markers Pcna and Mcm6 were present in the post-mitotic ganglion cell layer. Although confined to the neuroblastic layer (NBL), 6-7% of Ki67(+) cells lacked six progenitor/cell cycle markers, and expressed neuronal markers. To define protein extinction/induction timing, we defined G2/M length throughout retinogenesis, which was typically 1-2 h, but <10% cells took double this time. BrdU-chase analyses revealed that at E12.5, Tubb3 (Tuj1) appeared at M-phase, followed by Calb2 and Dcx at ~2 h, Elavl2/3/4 at ~4 h, and Map2 at ~6 h after cell birth, and these times extended with embryonic age. Strikingly, Ki67 was not extinguished until up to a day after cell cycle exit, coinciding with exit from the NBL and induction of late markers such as Map1b/Uchl1/Rbfox3. A minor population of progenitors transits slowly through G2/M and, most importantly, some cell cycle proteins are retained for an unexpectedly long period in post-mitotic neurons. The high-resolution map of cell birth kinetics reported here provides a framework to better define mechanisms that regulate neurogenesis.

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Accession: 036507973

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PMID: 22837015

DOI: 10.1002/dvdy.23840

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