Normal sulfation levels regulate spinal cord neural precursor cell proliferation and differentiation
1 Department of Cell Morphology and Molecular Neurobiology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
2 Group for Molecular Cell Biology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
3 Department of Neurobiochemistry, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
4 International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
Neural Development 2012, 7:20 doi:10.1186/1749-8104-7-20Published: 8 June 2012
Sulfated glycosaminoglycan chains are known for their regulatory functions during neural development and regeneration. However, it is still unknown whether the sulfate residues alone influence, for example, neural precursor cell behavior or whether they act in concert with the sugar backbone. Here, we provide evidence that the unique 473HD-epitope, a representative chondroitin sulfate, is expressed by spinal cord neural precursor cells in vivo and in vitro, suggesting a potential function of sulfated glycosaminoglycans for spinal cord development.
Thus, we applied the widely used sulfation inhibitor sodium chlorate to analyze the importance of normal sulfation levels for spinal cord neural precursor cell biology in vitro. Addition of sodium chlorate to spinal cord neural precursor cell cultures affected cell cycle progression accompanied by changed extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 or 2 activation levels. This resulted in a higher percentage of neurons already under proliferative conditions. In contrast, the relative number of glial cells was largely unaffected. Strikingly, both morphological and electrophysiological characterization of neural precursor cell-derived neurons demonstrated an attenuated neuronal maturation in the presence of sodium chlorate, including a disturbed neuronal polarization.
In summary, our data suggest that sulfation is an important regulator of both neural precursor cell proliferation and maturation of the neural precursor cell progeny in the developing mouse spinal cord.