The motor neuron progenitor domain in the ventral spinal cord gives rise to multiple subtypes of motor neurons and glial cells. Here, we examine whether progenitors found in this domain are multipotent and which signals contribute to their cell-type-specific differentiation. Using an in vitro neural differentiation model, we demonstrate that motor neuron progenitor differentiation is iteratively controlled by Notch signaling. First, Notch controls the timing of motor neuron genesis by repressing Neurogenin 2 (Ngn2) and maintaining Olig2-positive progenitors in a proliferative state. Second, in an Ngn2-independent manner, Notch contributes to the specification of median versus hypaxial motor column identity and lateral versus medial divisional identity of limb-innervating motor neurons. Thus, motor neuron progenitors are multipotent, and their diversification is controlled by Notch signaling that iteratively increases cellular diversity arising from a single neural progenitor domain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology