Potentiation of astrogliogenesis by STAT3-mediated activation of bone morphogenetic protein-Smad signaling in neural stem cells

Shinji Fukuda, Masahiko Abematsu, Hiroyuki Mori, Makoto Yanagisawa, Tetsushi Kagawa, Kinichi Nakashima, Akihiko Yoshimura, Tetsuya Taga

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Astrocytes play important roles in brain development and injury response. Transcription factors STAT3 and Smadl, activated by leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), respectively, form a complex with the coactivator p300 to synergistically induce astrocytes from neuroepithelial cells (NECs) (K. Nakashima, M. Yanagisawa, H. Arakawa, N. Kimura, T. Hisatsune, M. Kawabata, K. Miyazono, and T. Taga, Science 284:479-482, 1999). However, the mechanisms that govern astrogliogenesis during the determination of the fate of neural stem cells remain elusive. Here we found that LIF induces expression of BMP2 via STAT3 activation and leads to the consequent activation of Smad1 to efficiently promote astrogliogenic differentiation of NECs. The BMP antagonist Noggin abrogated LIF-induced Smadl activation and astrogliogenesis by inhibiting BMPs produced by NECs. NECs deficient in suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), a negative regulator of STAT3, readily differentiated into astrocytes upon activation by LIF not only due to sustained activation of STAT3 but also because of the consequent activation of Smadl. Our study suggests a novel LIF-triggered positive regulatory loop that enhances astrogliogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4931-4937
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2007


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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