Astrocytes pp 485-498 | Cite as

Reprogramming of Postnatal Astroglia of the Mouse Neocortex into Functional, Synapse-Forming Neurons

  • Christophe Heinrich
  • Magdalena Götz
  • Benedikt BerningerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 814)


Direct conversion of glia into neurons by cellular reprogramming represents a novel approach toward a cell-based therapy of neurodegenerative processes. Here we describe a protocol that allows for the direct and efficient in vitro reprogramming of mouse astroglia from the early postnatal neocortex by forced expression of single neurogenic fate determinants. By selective retrovirus-mediated expression of neurogenin-2 (Neurog2) on the one hand, or the mouse homologue of Distal-less Dlx2 or the mammalian homologue of achaete-schute-1 (Mash1) on the other, it is possible to drive postnatal astroglia in culture toward the genesis of fully functional, synapse-forming, glutamatergic, i.e., excitatory, and GABAergic, i.e., inhibitory, neurons, respectively.

Key words

Astrocyte Glutamatergic GABAergic Neurogenin2 Dlx2 Transcription factor 



This work was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (BE 4182/1-3 and GO 640/9-1), the BMBF, EUTRACC, HELMA, and the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts (ForNeuroCell). We wish to thank Tatiana Simon-Ebert for her excellent technical help in optimizing the protocol and Dr. Alex Lepier and Simone Bauer for virus production.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christophe Heinrich
    • 1
  • Magdalena Götz
    • 1
  • Benedikt Berninger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physiological Genomics, Institute of PhysiologyLudwig-Maximilians University MunichMunichGermany

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