Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2013

Thesis Advisor(s)

Joseph LoTurco

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Physiology


Recent studies in which mouse and human fibroblasts were directly reprogrammed into functional neurons have demonstrated that lineage-specific transcription factors can override differentiation processes previously thought to be irreversible. Notably, three factors have been shown to be required for the induction of neural cell fate. Subsequent experiments have identified additional factors capable of generating specific neuronal subtypes, including motor neurons and dopaminergic neurons, but the factors necessary for inducing GABAergic neuronal fate have yet to be elucidated. Here, factors linked to GABAergic fate were transfected into mouse fibroblasts in order to identify candidate factors for inhibitory interneuron direct reprogramming. Results indicated that the transcription factor Pft1a may play a key role in reprogramming mouse embryonic fibroblasts into GABAergic neurons.