Wnt signaling and its downstream target N-myc regulate basal progenitors in the developing neocortex

Atsushi Kuwahara, Yusuke Hirabayashi, Paul S Knoepfler, Makoto M. Taketo, Juro Sakai, Tatsuhiko Kodama, Yukiko Gotoh

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56 Scopus citations


Basal progenitors (also called non-surface dividing or intermediate progenitors) have been proposed to regulate the number of neurons during neocortical development through expanding cells committed to a neuronal fate, although the signals that govern this population have remained largely unknown. Here, we show that N-myc mediates the functions of Wnt signaling in promoting neuronal fate commitment and proliferation of neural precursor cells in vitro. Wnt signaling and N-myc also contribute to the production of basal progenitors in vivo. Expression of a stabilized form of β-catenin, a component of the Wnt signaling pathway, or of N-myc increased the numbers of neocortical basal progenitors, whereas conditional deletion of the N-myc gene reduced these and, as a likely consequence, the number of neocortical neurons. These results reveal that Wnt signaling via N-myc is crucial for the control of neuron number in the developing neocortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1044
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Basal progenitors
  • Mouse
  • N-myc
  • Neocortical development
  • Neural precursor cells
  • The wnt-β-catenin pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Kuwahara, A., Hirabayashi, Y., Knoepfler, P. S., Taketo, M. M., Sakai, J., Kodama, T., & Gotoh, Y. (2010). Wnt signaling and its downstream target N-myc regulate basal progenitors in the developing neocortex. Development, 137(7), 1035-1044. https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.046417