Extracellular stimuli regulate neuronal differentiation and subtype specification during brain development, although the intracellular signaling pathways that mediate these processes remain largely unclear. We now show that the PDK1-Akt pathway regulates differentiation of telencephalic neural precursor cells (NPCs). Active Akt promotes differentiation of NPC into γ-aminobutyric acid-containing (GABAergic) but not glutamatergic neurons. Disruption of the Pdk1 gene or expression of dominant-negative forms of Akt suppresses insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 enhancement of NPC differentiation into neurons in vitro and production of neocortical GABAergic neurons in vivo. Furthermore, active Akt increased the protein levels and transactivation activity of Mash1, a proneural basic helix-loop-helix protein required for the generation of neocortical GABAergic neurons, and Mash1 was required for Akt-induced neuronal differentiation. These results have unveiled an unexpected role of the PDK1-Akt pathway: a key mediator of extracellular signals regulating the production of neocortical GABAergic neurons.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2009 Aug 4|
- GABAergic neuronal differentiation
- Neural precursor cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas