Protein & Cell

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 231–242 | Cite as

Inactivation of Cdc42 in embryonic brain results in hydrocephalus with ependymal cell defects in mice

  • Xu PengEmail author
  • Qiong Lin
  • Yang Liu
  • Yixin Jin
  • Joseph E. Druso
  • Marc A. Antonyak
  • Jun-Lin Guan
  • Richard A. CerioneEmail author
Research Article


The establishment of a polarized cellular morphology is essential for a variety of processes including neural tube morphogenesis and the development of the brain. Cdc42 is a Ras-related GTPase that plays an essential role in controlling cell polarity through the regulation of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton architecture. Previous studies have shown that Cdc42 plays an indispensable role in telencephalon development in earlier embryo developmental stage (before E12.5). However, the functions of Cdc42 in other parts of brain in later embryo developmental stage or in adult brain remain unclear. Thus, in order to address the role of Cdc42 in the whole brain in later embryo developmental stage or in adulthood, we used Cre/loxP technology to generate two lines of tissuespecific Cdc42-knock-out mice. Inactivation of Cdc42 was achieved in neuroepithelial cells by crossing Cdc42/ flox mice with Nestin-Cre mice and resulted in hydrocephalus, causing death to occur within the postnatal stage. Histological analyses of the brains from these mice showed that ependymal cell differentiation was disrupted, resulting in aqueductal stenosis. Deletion of Cdc42 in the cerebral cortex also induced obvious defects in interkinetic nuclear migration and hypoplasia. To further explore the role of Cdc42 in adult mice brain, we examined the effects of knocking-out Cdc42 in radial glial cells by crossing Cdc42/flox mice with human glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-Cre mice. Inactivation of Cdc42 in radial glial cells resulted in hydrocephalus and ependymal cell denudation. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of Cdc42 for ependymal cell differentiation and maintaining, and suggest that these functions likely contribute to the essential roles played by Cdc42 in the development of the brain.


Cdc42 small GTPase neuron glial cell polarity development 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qiong Lin
    • 2
  • Yang Liu
    • 1
  • Yixin Jin
    • 1
  • Joseph E. Druso
    • 2
  • Marc A. Antonyak
    • 2
  • Jun-Lin Guan
    • 3
  • Richard A. Cerione
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, College of MedicineTexas A&M Health Science CenterTempleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular MedicineCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine-Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics and Department of Cell and Developmental BiologyUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA

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