The rates of adult neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis are linked to cell cycle regulation through p27-dependent gene repression of SOX2

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Cell differentiation involves profound changes in global gene expression that often has to occur in coordination with cell cycle exit. Because cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 reportedly regulates proliferation of neural progenitor cells in the subependymal neurogenic niche of the adult mouse brain, but can also have effects on gene expression, we decided to molecularly analyze its role in adult neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis. At the cell level, we show that p27 restricts residual cyclin-dependent kinase activity after mitogen withdrawal to antagonize cycling, but it is not essential for cell cycle exit. By integrating genome-wide gene expression and chromatin accessibility data, we find that p27 is coincidentally necessary to repress many genes involved in the transit from multipotentiality to differentiation, including those coding for neural progenitor transcription factors SOX2, OLIG2 and ASCL1. Our data reveal both a direct association of p27 with regulatory sequences in the three genes and an additional hierarchical relationship where p27 repression of Sox2 leads to reduced levels of its downstream targets Olig2 and Ascl1. In vivo, p27 is also required for the regulation of the proper level of SOX2 necessary for neuroblasts and oligodendroglial progenitor cells to timely exit cell cycle in a lineage-dependent manner.

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Volume 80
Issue number 1
Pages 36
Available online
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