Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Joseph LoTurco

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Other Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Physiology


Radial Glia (RG) are a mitotically active population of cells which reside within the ventricular zone at the lateral ventricle and give rise to the pyramidal neurons and astrocytes of the neocortex. Through cellular divisions, RG produce two daughter cells, one which resides in the ventricular zone and becomes another RG while the other is an immature progenitor which migrates away from the ventricle and populates the growing cortex. RG have been found to be a heterogeneous population of cells which express different surface antigens and genetic promoters which may influence the cellular fate of their progeny. In this study we have investigated the progenitor profiles of two promoters, nestin (a neural intermediate filament) and GLAST (astrocyte specific glutamate

transporter) within the RG. In-utero electroporation was used to transfect reporter plasmids under the control of promoter driven Cre-Recombinase into the RG lining the lateral ventricle during mid-neurogensesis (E14).

It was found that there was a large amount of overlap between the nestin and GLAST expressing populations of RG, however, there was still a small subset of cells which exclusively expressed GLAST. This prompted us to investigate the lineage of these two promoters using the PiggyBac transposon system which uses promoter driven episomal plasmids to incorporate a reporter gene into the genome of the transfected cells, allowing use to trace their full progeny. Our data shows that nestin expressing RG generate mostly neurons and few astrocytes while the GLAST expressing RG generate a greater proportion of astrocytes to neurons.