Sohyun Ahn, who heads the Unit on Developmental Neurogenetics, and colleagues continue to investigate the role of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling and its downstream effectors in neurogenesis of the developing and mature brain. Using conditional gene ablation approaches in the mouse, the Unit demonstrated a requirement of Gli3, a major negative regulator of Shh pathway, in neural progenitors in developing neocortex and in establishment of the postnatal neurogenic niche in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle. The Unit is currently characterizing additional signaling cues provided by the neurogenic niche that control the behavior of neural stem cells. Another project revealed that spatial and temporal genetic lineages of dopamine neuron precursors determine diversity among dopamine neurons.
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