Research in the News: How new neurons are born

The birth of new neurons depend upon activation of an important molecular pathway in stem cells, a new Yale School of Medicine study shows.

Angelique Bordey and colleagues show that activation of the mTOR pathway (mammalian target of rapamycin) helps determines whether neural stem cells become new stem cells or specialized neurons. They also found a downstream factor that helps regulate neural stem cell behavior by directly regulating protein synthesis. “The study helps explain why we lose neural stem cells with age and how we might learn to direct neural stem cell or cancer stem cell differentiation,” Bordey said.

In the accompanying image, neural stem cells express green fluorescent protein and a genetically activated molecular pathway (stained in red) in vivo. For more information, read the study in Cell Reports.

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Bill Hathaway: william.hathaway@yale.edu, 203-432-1322