Olig2 regulates Purkinje cell generation in the early developing mouse cerebellum

Jun Ju, Qian Liu, Yang Zhang, Yuanxiu Liu, Mei Jiang, Liguo Zhang, Xuelian He, Chenchen Peng, Tao Zheng, Q. Richard Lu, Hedong Li

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29 Scopus citations


The oligodendrocyte transcription factor Olig2 plays a crucial role in the neurogenesis of both spinal cord and brain. In the cerebellum, deletion of both Olig2 and Olig1 results in impaired genesis of Purkinje cells (PCs) and Pax2 + interneurons. Here, we perform an independent study to show that Olig2 protein is transiently expressed in the cerebellar ventricular zone (VZ) during a period when PCs are specified. Further analyses demonstrate that Olig2 is expressed in both cerebellar VZ progenitors and early-born neurons. In addition, unlike in the ganglionic eminence of the embryonic forebrain where Olig2 is mostly expressed in proliferating progenitors, Olig2 + cells in the cerebellar VZ are in the process of leaving the cell cycle and differentiating into postmitotic neurons. Functionally, deletion of Olig2 alone results in a preferential reduction of PCs in the cerebellum, which is likely mediated by decreased neuronal generation from their cerebellar VZ progenitors. Furthermore, our long-term lineage tracing experiments show that cerebellar Olig gene-expressing progenitors produce PCs but rarely Pax2 + interneurons in the developing cerebellum, which opposes the "temporal identity transition" model of the cerebellar VZ progenitors stating that majority of Pax2 + interneuron progenitors are transitioned from Olig2 + PC progenitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30711
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Jul 29 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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