Control of neurogenic competence in mammalian hypothalamic tanycytes

Hyde Lab

Hyde Lab

Feb 17, 2021

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Hypothalamic tanycytes, radial glial cells that share many features with neuronal progenitors, can generate small numbers of neurons in the postnatal hypothalamus, but the identity of these neurons and the molecular mechanisms that control tanycyte-derived neurogenesis are unknown. We report that tanycyte-specific disruption of the NFI family of transcription factors (Nfia/b/x) stimulates proliferation and tanycyte-derived neurogenesis. Single-cell RNA- and ATAC-Seq analysis reveals that NFI factors repress Shh and Wnt signaling in tanycytes, and small molecule inhibition of these pathways blocks proliferation and tanycyte-derived neurogenesis in Nfia/b/x-deficient mice. We show that Nfia/b/x-deficient tanycytes give rise to multiple mediobasal hypothalamic neuronal subtypes that can mature, integrate into hypothalamic circuitry, and selectively respond to changes in internal states. These findings identify molecular mechanisms controlling tanycyte-derived neurogenesis that can potentially be targeted to selectively remodel hypothalamic neural circuitry controlling homeostatic physiological processes.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Seth Blackshaw

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