Neural stem cells (NSCs) produce all neuronal subtypes involved in the nervous system. The mechanism regulating their subtype selection is not fully understood. We found that the expression of the nucleotide receptor P2Y4 was transiently augmented in the course of neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which was after loss of pluripotency but prior to terminal differentiation of neurons. The activation of P2Y4 in the differentiating ESCs resulted in an increased proportion of neurons expressing vesicular glutamate transporter (vGluT), a marker of glutamatergic subtype. A subpopulation of type 2 NSCs of the adult mouse hippocampus expressed P2Y4. Its activation induced the expression of glutamatergic subtype markers, vGluT and TBR1, in their descendant neurons. Reciprocally, inhibition of the P2Y4 signaling abolished the effects of nucleotides on those expressions. Our results provide evidence that differentiating NSCs pass through a stage in which nucleotides can affect subtype marker expression of their descendant neurons.
Uda, Y., Xu, S., Matsumura, T., & Takei, Y. (2016). P2Y4 Nucleotide Receptor in Neuronal Precursors Induces Glutamatergic Subtype Markers in Their Descendant Neurons. Stem Cell Reports, 6(4), 474–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2016.02.007