The mechanisms regulating neural stem cells and their progression to neurogenesis are important not only to understand brain development and evolution, but also to elicit neurogenesis after brain injury. Our recent findings imply novel chromatin-associated proteins in the regulation of neural stem cell fate and neurogenesis. Therefore this project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of how these factors regulate neurogenesis in developing and adult mice (Aim1) and implement this knowledge for reprogramming glia into neurons after brain injury (Aim2). This will be pursued in mouse models in vivo (2.1) and with human glial cells derived from patient brain resections in vitro (2.2). It is well known that transcription factors need to alter the chromatin structure to achieve transcriptional regulation, but the factors involved in this regulation in neural stem and progenitor cells are still ill understood. Therefore the molecular function of the novel chromatin interacting protein Trnp1 with essential roles in neural stem cell (NSC) fate and the chromatin conformation mediated at neurogenic target genes by Pax6/Brg1-containing BAF complexes will be addressed in Aim1. Combined with genome-wide approaches to determine changes in chromatin conformation at neurogenic target gene sites this will greatly further our understanding of key roles of chromatin conformation in neural stem cells and neurogenesis. In Aim2 Trnp1 promoting neural stem cells fate and later acting neurogenic transcription factors will be used to improve neuronal reprogramming after stab wound injury in the murine brain in vivo and in patient-derived glial cells in vitro. Together with novel strategies to induce chromatin looping in a sequence-specific manner this project will not only advance our knowledge at the frontier of transcriptional regulation in neurogenesis, but also implement highly innovative approaches to utilize this knowledge for neuronal repair by direct reprogramming.
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