Neural Stem Cells in Cerebral Cortex Development

  • Felipe Mora-Bermúdez
  • Miguel Turrero García
  • Wieland B. Huttner
Living reference work entry


Neural stem cells (NSCs) in the developing neuroepithelium give rise, directly or indirectly, to all the neurons of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). In addition, they generate other essential neural cells, mainly the two types of macroglial cells in the CNS: astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. This chapter focuses on the cellular and molecular aspects of neural stem cell biology during CNS embryonic neurogenesis, the process through which these initially multipotent cells undergo fate restriction steps that will eventually lead to all the neuronal subtypes. We describe neurogenesis mainly in the developing cerebral neocortex, although the principles highlighted here describe also many aspects of the development of other CNS regions. We take the rodent brain as the main model system, as many principal hallmarks of brain development are evolutionarily conserved between rodents and other mammals, including hominids. Key differences exist, however, and they are pinpointed where appropriate. We also highlight some areas of intense current research and mention ideas that could contribute to our understanding of CNS development and function.


Apical-basal polarity Apical process Apical progenitors Apical radial glia Asymmetric cell division Basal process Basal progenitors Basal radial glia Bone morphogenetic protein Brain development Cell cycle regulation Cell division Cell lineage Cleavage furrow ingression Tissue differentiation Embryonic development Fibroblast growth factor Interkinetic nuclear migration Neural development Neural plate Neural stem cells Neural tube Neuroepithelium Neuroepithelial cells Neurogenesis Notch Primary cilium Proliferation Radial glial cells Self-renewal Sonic hedgehog Spindle orientation Stem cells Telencephalon Transcription factors Wnt 



We thank Elena Taverna, Judith Paridaen, and YoonJeung Chang for useful discussions and critical reading of a version of the first edition of this manuscript. We also thank Elena Taverna for help with the graphic design of Figs. 2, 3, and 4. M.T.G. was a member of the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering and the Dresden International PhD Program. Research in the Huttner lab was supported by grants from the DFG (SFB 655, A2; TRR 83, Tp6) and the ERC (250197), by the DFG-funded Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, and by the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie.

Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felipe Mora-Bermúdez
    • 1
  • Miguel Turrero García
    • 1
  • Wieland B. Huttner
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and GeneticsDresdenGermany

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