cAMP Response Element Binding Protein Is Required for Mouse Neural Progenitor Cell Survival and Expansion Academic Article uri icon


  • Development of the mammalian brain relies on the coordinated expansion of neural cells in a relatively short time, spanning for a period of only a few days in mice. The molecular networks regulating neural cell birth and expansion, termed neurogenesis, are still unresolved, although many studies using genetically modified mice have revealed a growing number of genes that are involved in regulating these processes. The cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) lies at the hub of a diverse array of intracellular signaling pathways and is a major transcriptional regulator of numerous functions in adult neural cells, including learning and memory and neuronal survival. Recent studies have shown that activated CREB is highly expressed in immature dividing cells in adult mouse and zebrafish brains and that CREB regulates neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) proliferation in embryonic zebrafish brain. Using genetically modified mice, we show that deletion of CREB, without the concomitant loss of the related compensating factor cAMP response element modifier, leads to defects in neural progenitor cell expansion and survival. Cultured primary CREB(-/-) NSPCs exhibited decreased expression of several target genes important for neuronal survival and growth, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neural growth factor and showed that the survival and growth defect can be rescued by the addition of wild-type NSPC-conditioned medium. This is the first study showing a specific role for CREB in mammalian embryonic neurogenesis. This role appears to be mediated via the expression of factors important for NSPC survival and growth and suggests that CREB is an important signaling regulator within the developing neurogenic niche.


  • Dworkin, Sebastian
  • Malaterre, Jordane
  • Hollande, Frédéric
  • Darcy, Phillip K
  • Ramsay, Robert G
  • Mantamadiotis, Theo

publication date

  • June 2009