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A3: Identification of novel mechanisms involved in adult neurogenesis and vertebrate brain plasticity in zebrafish

Project leader: Prof. Dr. M. Brand

The capacity to generate new neurons is lost in most areas of the adult mammalian brain, while most non-mammalian vertebrates, including teleosts, retain this ability in many areas of the CNS. Mechanisms of neurogenesis are generally highly conserved among vertebrates. However, the mechanisms that support neural precursor/stem cell activity in the teleost brain, or that prevent it in the mammalian brain, are at present largely unknown. Previously we characterized neural progenitor cell activity, lineage and differentiation of new neurons and glia in the adult zebrafish telencephalon and cerebellum. We identified different types of stem- and progenitor cells in the adult niches as well as molecular differences between them, and showed a functional requirement for Fgf and Bmp signaling. Using newly generated transgenic marker lines, FACS sorting methods and transcriptome analysis, we systematically determined shared and distinct molecular properties of these stem cell types. Here, we propose to study the function of regeneration associated genes in constitutive and regeneration-induced neurogenesis in adult zebrafish brain. Functionally important genes will be further examined in axolotl and in mammalian tissue culture for the ability to reactivate neurogenesis. Selected candidates will be tested in vivo to attempt to reactivate neurogenesis in injury paradigms in mouse brain. The results may help to stimulate regeneration ability in the mammalian brain.

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Funding program:

DFG