Adult neurogenesis is a process of generating new neurons from neural stem/precursor cells (NS/PCs) in restricted adult brain regions throughout life. It is now generally known that adult neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) and subventricular zone participates in various higher brain functions, such as learning and memory formation, olfactory discrimination and repair after brain injury. However, the mechanisms underlying adult neurogenesis remain to be fully understood. Here, we show that Nuclear protein 95 KDa (Np95, also known as UHRF1 or ICBP90), which is an essential protein for maintaining DNA methylation during cell division, is involved in multiple processes of adult neurogenesis. Specific ablation of Np95 in adult NS/PCs (aNS/PCs) led to a decrease in their proliferation and an impairment of neuronal differentiation and to suppression of neuronal maturation associated with the impairment of dendritic formation in the hippocampal DG. We also found that deficiency of Np95 in NS/PCs increased the expression of tumor suppressor genes p16 and p53, and confirmed that expression of these genes in NS/PCs recapitulates the phenotype of Np95-deficient NS/PCs. Taken together, our findings suggest that Np95 plays an essential role in proliferation and differentiation of aNS/PCs through the regulation of tumor suppressor gene expression in adult neurogenesis.
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