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Direct In Vitro Reprogramming of Astrocytes into Induced Neurons

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

Nesrin Sharif, Filippo Calzolari, Benedikt Berninger

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc
Number of pages17

Publication series

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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The following sources of funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) supported work described in this chapter: CRC1080 (project number 221828878) and CRC1193 (project number 264810226). N.S. received support via a PhD fellowship granted by the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz. F.C. received support from Inneruniversitaere Forschungsfoerder-ung of the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


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.

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