Research Papers: Neuroscience:

Specific amplifications and copy number decreases during human neural stem cells differentiation towards astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes

Ulrike Fischer _, Ella Kim, Andreas Keller and Eckart Meese

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:25872-25884. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15980

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Ulrike Fischer1, Ella Kim2, Andreas Keller3 and Eckart Meese1

1 Department of Human Genetics, Saarland University, Homburg/Saar, Germany

2 Translational Neurooncology Research Group, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

3 Clinical Bioinformatics, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

Correspondence to:

Ulrike Fischer, email:

Keywords: gene amplification, CDK4, MDM2, EGFR, astrocytes, Neuroscience

Received: September 14, 2016 Accepted: February 27, 2017 Published: March 07, 2017


There is growing evidence that gene amplifications are an attribute of normal cells during development and differentiation. During neural progenitor cell differentiation half of the genome is involved in amplification process. To answer the question how specific amplifications occur at different stages and in different lineages of differentiation we analyzed the genes CDK4, MDM2, EGFR, GINS2, GFAP, TP53, DDB1 and MDM4 in human neural stem cells that were induced to differentiate towards astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes. We found specific amplification pattern for each of the eight analyzed genes both in undifferentiated neural stem and progenitor cells and in cells that were induced for differentiation. Different amplification patterns were also found between adherently grown neural stem cells and cells that were grown as spheres. The most frequently amplified genes were MDM2 and CDK4 with the latter amplified in all three lineages at all analyzed stages. Amplification of the analyzed genes was also found in four glioma stem-like cells. The combined amplification data of stem cells and of tumor stem cells can help to define cell populations at the origin of the tumor. Furthermore, we detected a decrease of gene copies at specific differentiation stages most frequently for MDM4. This study shows specific amplification pattern in defined stem cell populations within specific time windows during differentiation processes indicating that amplifications occur in an orderly sequence during the differentiation of human neural stem and progenitor cells.

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PII: 15980