The Matricellular Protein R-Spondin 2 Promotes Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurogenesis and Differentiation


The development of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons is controlled by multiple morphogens and transcription factors. However, little is known about the role of extracellular matrix proteins in this process. Here we examined the function of roof plate-specific spondins (RSPO1-4) and the floor plate-specific, spondin 1 (SPON1). Only RSPO2 and SPON1 were expressed at high levels during mDA neurogenesis, and the receptor LGR5 was expressed by midbrain floor plate progenitors. Surprisingly, RSPO2, but not SPON1, specifically promoted the differentiation of mDA neuroblasts into mDA neurons in mouse primary cultures and embryonic stem cells (ESCs). In addition, RSPO2 was found to promote not only mDA differentiation, but also mDA neurogenesis in human ESCs. Our results thus uncover an unexpected function of the matricellular protein RSPO2 and suggest an application to improve mDA neurogenesis and differentiation in human stem cell preparations destined to cell replacement therapy or drug discovery for Parkinson disease. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Authors Gyllborg D, Ahmed M, Toledo EM, Theofilopoulos S, Yang S, Ffrench-Constant C, Arenas E
Journal Stem cell reports
Publication Date 2018 Sep 11;11(3):651-664
PubMed 30146491
PubMed Central PMC6135723
DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.07.014

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