University of Cambridge > > Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience > TODAY: Adrian Seminar - "Functional heterogeneity of astrocytes in the mammalian CNS" - David Rowitch

TODAY: Adrian Seminar - "Functional heterogeneity of astrocytes in the mammalian CNS" - David Rowitch

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Astrocytes are heterogeneous in morphology, marker and gene expression, and physiological properties. Our recent studies have shown that astrocytes are allocated according to a regional/segmental template, and that regionally diverse astrocytes of ventral spinal cord encode distinct gene functions essential for motor neuron survival and sensorimotor circuit integrity. How is such diversity determined? This talk will focus on advances in understanding astrocyte development including the role of neural tube patterning in specification and developmental functions of astrocytes during synaptogenesis, axon path finding and motor neuron survival. We propose that a precise understanding astrocyte development is critical to defining heterogeneity and could lead to a better appreciation for their roles in support of local-regional neural circuits. For example, we have shown that ventral spinal cord astrocytes express Sema3a, which is essential for synaptogenesis and motor neuron survival. New examples of screen approaches, diversification and specialization will be presented that suggest astrocytes can regulate connectively and functional activity by virtue of layer-specific astrocyte encoded gene expression in mammalian cortex.

This talk is part of the Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience series.

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