Professor, Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
GRA Eminent Scholar in Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology
Dept. of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine
1120 15th St., Rm. CA1006
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Augusta, GA 30912
PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, 1967
Med ScD, Tokyo University, Tokyo, Japan, 1980
Neural stem cells are fundamental cells that are capable of differentiating into various cell types in the nervous system. We focus on a class of sugar-containing molecules called gangliosides with the goal of gaining a better understanding of their roles in normal neural differentiation and under pathological conditions.
Our central hypothesis is that cell- and stage-specific gangliosides play specific roles in maintaining NSC activities and in neural differentiation. We hypothesize that: (1) GD3 ganglioside modulates NSC proliferation by interacting with growth factor receptors and regulating growth factor-induced signaling; (2) the ganglioside composition of NSCs is then switched from simple to more complex gangliosides, which is regulated in part by post-translational modification, subcellular localization, and complex formation of the GTs (GD3-synthase and GM2/GD2-synthase) in the early differentiation stage; and (3) the expression of complex a-series gangliosides, especially GM1 ganglioside, is augmented by a novel GM1-modulated epigenetic gene regulation mechanism of GTs at a later differentiation stage.
Figure1: A model for neural cell lineages derived from mouse neural stem cells (NSCs). The known glycoconjugate markers are underlined. NSC, neural stem cell; NRP, neuronal restricted precursor; GRP, glial restricted precursor; OPC, oligodendrocyte precursor cell.
Figure 2: The expression of various glycoconjugate markers of different types of cells and their lineage differentiation. NEC, Neuroepithelial cell; NSC, Neural stem cell; RGC, Radial glial cell; NPC, neuronal progenitor cell; OPC, oligodendrocyte precursor cell; MZ, marginal zone; MA, marginal mantle; SVZ, subventricular zone; VZ, ventricular zone. The known carbohydrate markers are underlined.