N-cadherin Function in Cell Fate Specification of Cortical Precursor Cells

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Cellular interactions are important for the development and maintenance of tissue structural integrity. In the developing neuroepithelium, the adherens junction proteins, N-cadherin and β-catenin, are highly enriched at the apical surface of the proliferative ventricular zone and have been suggested to have critical functions in ensuring the proper development of the neocortex. We examine the role that N-cadherin mediated adhesion and Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays during neocortical development with special emphasis on neural precursor proliferation and cell fate specification. We find that adhesion and signaling mediated by N-cadherin and β-catenin are intimately linked and control the decision of a neural precursor cell to proliferate or differentiate. Furthermore, we find that there may be multiple levels of the regulation of neural precursor proliferation and differentiation mediated by N-cadherin and β-catenin involving the interaction with components of multiple signaling pathways. The insights provided by this thesis will lead to a greater understanding of cerebral cortical development and provide additional avenues of research to investigate the specification of the various cells types found in the cortex.

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  • 08/30/2018
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