Exp Neurobiol 2004; 13(1): 1-6
Published online July 1, 2004
© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences
Division of Molecular Life Sciences, Ewha Womans University,Seoul 120-750, Korea
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Neural stem cells function as the cellular source for the nervous system construction during embryonic development and for the continuous turnover of neurons in adults. Neural stem cells may also serve ultimately as the source material for the treatment of degenerative neural diseases and neural traumas. Much needs to be learned, however, about the neural stem cells before such practices can be realized. Particularly important is understanding the molecular mechanism of self renewal and proliferation which is not only necessary for generating a sufficient quantity of neural stem cells but also critical for safe application of them. Several recent studies suggest that members of Sox transcription factor family play critical roles in specifying key attributes of neural stem cells of central and peripheral nervous systems. Their function in inhibiting premature neurogenesis and maintaining cellular proliferation is just beginning to be understood providing the basis of further molecular characterization of neural stem cells. This review will provide up-to-date background information about neural stem cells and discuss the significance and implication of recent functional analyses of Sox genes.
Keywords: Regeneration, Neural stem cells, CNS, PNS, Sox