Direct In Vitro Reprogramming of Astrocytes into Induced Neurons

Nesrin Sharif, Filippo Calzolari, Benedikt Berninger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Spontaneous neuronal replacement is almost absent in the postnatal mammalian nervous system. However, several studies have shown that both early postnatal and adult astroglia can be reprogrammed in vitro or in vivo by forced expression of proneural transcription factors, such as Neurogenin-2 or Achaete-scute homolog 1 (Ascl1), to acquire a neuronal fate. The reprogramming process stably induces properties such as distinctly neuronal morphology, expression of neuron-specific proteins, and the gain of mature neuronal functional features. Direct conversion of astroglia into neurons thus possesses potential as a basis for cell-based strategies against neurological diseases. In this chapter, we describe a well-established protocol used for direct reprogramming of postnatal cortical astrocytes into functional neurons in vitro and discuss available tools and approaches to dissect molecular and cell biological mechanisms underlying the reprogramming process.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Astrocyte culture
  • Cell fate plasticity
  • GABAergic neuron
  • Glia-to-neuron conversion
  • Glutamatergic neuron
  • Proneural


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