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  • 1. Lara-Ramirez, Ricardo
    et al.
    Perez-Gonzalez, Carlos
    Anselmi, Chiara
    Patthey, Cedric
    Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, 11a Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SZ, UK.
    Shimeld, Sebastian M.
    A Notch-regulated proliferative stem cell zone in the developing spinal cord is an ancestral vertebrate trait2019In: Development, ISSN 0950-1991, E-ISSN 1477-9129, Vol. 146, no 1, article id UNSP dev166595Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Vertebrates have evolved the most sophisticated nervous systems we know. These differ from the nervous systems of invertebrates in several ways, including the evolution of new cell types, and the emergence and elaboration of patterning mechanisms to organise cells in time and space. Vertebrates also generally have many more cells in their central nervous systems than invertebrates, and an increase in neural cell number may have contributed to the sophisticated anatomy of the brain and spinal cord. Here, we study how increased cell number evolved in the vertebrate central nervous system, investigating the regulation of cell proliferation in the lamprey spinal cord. Markers of proliferation show that a ventricular progenitor zone is found throughout the lamprey spinal cord. We show that inhibition of Notch signalling disrupts the maintenance of this zone. When Notch is blocked, progenitor cells differentiate precociously, the proliferative ventricular zone is lost and differentiation markers become expressed throughout the spinal cord. Comparison with other chordates suggests that the emergence of a persistent Notch-regulated proliferative progenitor zone was a crucial step for the evolution of vertebrate spinal cord complexity.

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