Emx2 regulates the proliferation of stem cells of the adult mammalian central nervous system

Rosella Galli, Roberto Fiocco, Lidia De Filippis, Luca Muzio, Angela Gritti, Sara Mercurio, Vania Broccoli, Massimo Pellegrini, Antonello Mallamaci, Angelo Vescovi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The appropriate control of proliferation of neural precursors has fundamental implications for the development of the central nervous system and for cell homeostasis/replacement within specific brain regions throughout adulthood. The role of genetic determinants in this process is largely unknown. We report the expression of the homeobox transcription factor Emx2 within the periventricular region of the adult telencephalon. This neurogenetic area displays a large number of multipotent stem cells. Adult neural stem cells isolated from this region do express Emx2 and down-regulate it significantly upon differentiation into neurons and glia. Abolishing or, increasing Emx2 expression in adult neural stem cells greatly enhances or reduces their rate of proliferation, respectively. We determined that altering the expression of Emx2 affects neither the cell cycle length of adult neural stem cells nor their ability to generate neurons and glia. Rather, when Emx2 expression is abolished, the frequency of symmetric divisions that generate two stem cells increases, whereas it decreases when Emx2 expression is enhanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1633-1644
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 23 2002


  • CNS stem cell
  • Cell proliferation
  • Emx2
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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