In the prior funding period, we demonstrated that conditional elimination of the Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3s (GSK-3s), a and ?, in the embryonic nervous system results in remarkable dysregulation of neural progenitor homeostasis. This result has important translational significance because of the widespread use of a GSK-3 inhibitor, lithium, in clinical practice. We hypothesize that inactivation of GSK-3s renders progenitors incapable of responding to the extracellular signals that normally regulate conversion of radial progenitors to neurons and intermediate neuronal precursors (INPs). We now propose definitive mouse genetic experiments to assess mechanisms of this GSK-3 regulation (Aims I and II). Further, we will use a chemical genetics approach to determine if reinduction of GSK-3 activity in GSK-3 deficient progenitors will result in enhanced neurogenesis (Aim III). Finally we will ask whether GSK-3 signaling regulates neural progenitors in the adult dentate gyrus (Aim IV). This work will reveal the functional potential and mechanisms of GSK-3 regulation of neural progenitors in mammals. The work will also provide information on previously unrecognized potential effects of lithium a drug commonly used in clinical practice, increasingly in children. Finally our results may suggest new ways to expand neural progenitor populations in the setting of neural transplantation.

Public Health Relevance

We propose that a specific protein, GSK-3, is a master regulator of neural stem cells. This function of GSK-3 requires investigation because a GSK-3 inhibitor, lithium, is commonly used in clinical practice, increasingly in children. Our results may also suggest new ways to expand neural stem cells in the setting of neural transplantation

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Mamounas, Laura
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
Zip Code
Ohata, Shinya; Nakatani, Jin; Herranz-PĂ©rez, Vicente et al. (2014) Loss of Dishevelleds disrupts planar polarity in ependymal motile cilia and results in hydrocephalus. Neuron 83:558-71
Morgan-Smith, Meghan; Wu, Yaohong; Zhu, Xiaoqin et al. (2014) GSK-3 signaling in developing cortical neurons is essential for radial migration and dendritic orientation. Elife 3:e02663
Xing, Lei; Newbern, Jason M; Snider, William D (2013) Neuronal development: SAD kinases make happy axons. Curr Biol 23:R720-3
Kim, Woo-Yang; Snider, William D (2011) Functions of GSK-3 Signaling in Development of the Nervous System. Front Mol Neurosci 4:44
Chen, Youjun; Tian, Xu; Kim, Woo-Yang et al. (2011) Adenomatous polyposis coli regulates axon arborization and cytoskeleton organization via its N-terminus. PLoS One 6:e24335
Kim, Yun Tai; Hur, Eun-Mi; Snider, William D et al. (2011) Role of GSK3 Signaling in Neuronal Morphogenesis. Front Mol Neurosci 4:48
Yokota, Yukako; Eom, Tae-Yeon; Stanco, Amelia et al. (2010) Cdc42 and Gsk3 modulate the dynamics of radial glial growth, inter-radial glial interactions and polarity in the developing cerebral cortex. Development 137:4101-10
Kim, Woo-Yang; Wang, Xinshuo; Wu, Yaohong et al. (2009) GSK-3 is a master regulator of neural progenitor homeostasis. Nat Neurosci 12:1390-7
Yokota, Yukako; Kim, Woo-Yang; Chen, Youjun et al. (2009) The adenomatous polyposis coli protein is an essential regulator of radial glial polarity and construction of the cerebral cortex. Neuron 61:42-56
Zhou, Feng-Quan; Walzer, Mark; Wu, Yao-Hong et al. (2006) Neurotrophins support regenerative axon assembly over CSPGs by an ECM-integrin-independent mechanism. J Cell Sci 119:2787-96

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications