Neural stem cells are capable of differentiating into three major neural cell types, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which integrin β4 modulates mouse neural stem cell differentiation in vitro. Inhibition of endogenous integrin β4 by RNA interference inhibited the cell differentiation and the expression of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 but not fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 or fibroblast growth factor receptor 3. Overexpression of integrin β4 in neural stem cells promoted neural stem cell differentiation. Furthermore, integrin β4-induced differentiation of neural stem cells was attenuated by SU5402, the inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptors. Finally, we investigated the role of integrin β4 in neural stem cell survival: knockdown of integrin β4 did not affect survival or apoptosis of neural stem cells. These data provide evidence that integrin β4 promotes differentiation of mouse neural stem cells in vitro possibly through fibroblast growth factor receptor 2. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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