Prominin-1 (CD133) is commonly used to isolate stem and progenitor cells from the developing and adult nervous system and to identify cancer stem cells in brain tumors. However, despite extensive characterization of Prominin-1+ precursor cells from the adult subventricular zone, no information about the expression of Prominin-1 by precursor cells in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the adult hippocampus has been available.Weshow here that Prominin-1 is expressed by a significant number of cells in the SGZ of adult mice in vivo and ex vivo, including postmitotic astrocytes. A small subset of Prominin-1+ cells coexpressed the nonspecific precursor cell marker Nestin as well as GFAP and Sox2. Upon fluorescence-activated cell sorting, only Prominin-1/Nestin double-positive cells fulfilled the defining stem cell criteria of proliferation, self-renewal, and multipotentiality as assessed by a neurosphere assay. In addition, isolated primary Prominin-1+cells preferentially migrated to the neurogenic niche in the SGZ upon transplantation in vivo. Finally, despite its expression by various stem and progenitor cells, Prominin-1 turned out to be dispensable for precursor cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Nevertheless, a net decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis, by ~30% was found in Prominin-1 knock-out mice, suggesting other roles in controlling adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Remarkably, an upregulation of Prominin-2 was detected in Prominin-1-deficient mice highlighting a potential compensatory mechanism, which might explain the lack of severe symptoms in individuals carrying mutations in the Prom1 gene.
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