Non-cell-autonomous action of STAT3 in maintenance of neural precursor cells in the mouse neocortex

Takeshi Yoshimatsu, Daichi Kawaguchi, Koji Oishi, Kiyoshi Takeda, Shizuo Akira, Norihisa Masuyama, Yukiko Gotoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


The transcription factor STAT3 promotes astrocytic differentiation of neural precursor cells (NPCs) during postnatal development of the mouse neocortex, but little has been known of the possible role of STAT3 in the embryonic neocortex. We now show that STAT3 is expressed in NPCs of the mouse embryonic neocortex and that the JAK-STAT3 signaling pathway plays an essential role in the maintenance of NPCs by fibroblast growth factor 2. Conditional deletion of the STAT3 gene in NPCs reduced their capacity to form neurospheres in vitro, as well as promoted neuronal differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, STAT3 was found to maintain NPCs in the undifferentiated state in a non-cell-autonomous manner. STAT3-dependent expression of the Notch ligand Delta-like1 (DLL1) appears to account for the non-cell-autonomous effect of STAT3 on NPC maintenance, as knockdown of DLL1 by RNA interference or inhibition of Notch activation with a γ-secretase inhibitor abrogated the enhancement of neurosphere formation by STAT3. Our results reveal a previously unrecognized mechanism of interaction between the JAK-STAT3 and DLL1-Notch signaling pathways, as well as a pivotal role for this interaction in maintenance of NPCs during early neocortical development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2553-2563
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • DLL
  • FGF2
  • Neocortex
  • Neural precursor cell
  • Non-cell-autonomous
  • Notch
  • STAT3


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