The Notch and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathways both regulate cell fate specification during mammalian neural development. We have shown previously that Notch1 activation in the murine forebrain promotes radial glial identity. This result, together with recent evidence that radial glia can be progenitors, suggested that Notch1 signaling might promote progenitor and radial glial character simultaneously. Consistent with this idea, we found that in addition to promoting radial glial character in vivo, activated Notch 1 (ActN1) increased the frequency of embryonic day 14.5 (E14.5) ganglionic eminence (GE) progenitors that grew into neurospheres in FGF2. Constitutive activation of C-promoter binding factor (CBF1), a Notch pathway effector, also increased neurosphere frequency in FGF2, suggesting that the effect of Notch1 on FGF responsiveness is mediated by CBF1. The observation that ActN1 promoted FGF responsiveness in telencephalic progenitors prompted us to examine the effect of FGF pathway activation in vivo. We focused on FGFR2 because it is expressed in radial glia in the GEs where ActN1 increases FGF2 neurosphere frequency, but not in the septum where it does not. Like ActN1, activated FGFR2 (ActFGFR2) promoted radial glial character in vivo. However, unlike ActN1, ActFGFR2 did not enhance neurosphere frequency at E14.5. Additional analysis demonstrated that, unexpectedly, neither ActFGFR2 nor ActFGFR1 could replace the need for ligand in promoting neurosphere proliferation. This study suggests that telencephalic progenitors with radial glial morphology are maintained by interactions between the Notch and FGF pathways, and that the mechanisms by which FGF signaling promotes radial glial character in vivo and progenitor proliferation in vitro can be uncoupled.
- Radial glia
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