In daily life, I’m a Ph.D. student studying the development of the central nervous system. A few months ago, the first paper was released with my name on it (as a second author), and just yesterday, I received notification of publication of my first paper as a first author.
- Yu YC, Bultje RS, Wang X & Shi SH. Specific synapses develop preferentially among sister excitatory neurons in the neocortex. Nature 458 (7237), pp. 501-4 (2009) [ abstract at Nature ];
- Bultje RS, Castaneda-Castellanos DR, Jan LY, Jan YN, Kriegstein AR & Shi SH. Mammalian Par3 Regulates Progenitor Cell Asymmetric Division via Notch Signaling in the Developing Neocortex. Neuron 63 (2), pp. 189-202 (2009) [ explanation, abstract at Neuron ].
Needless to say, I’m very excited and hope for more novel findings in the future. In short, my publication describes the identification of a mechanism by which radial glial cells, the “stem cells” that give rise to excitatory neurons in the cerebral cortex (the brain region that handles most higher-level functions in mouse and man), divide “asymmetrically”. In this process, stem cells divide to give rise to two different kind of daughter cells: one is another radial glial cells, which will undergo the same process again. The other daughter cell will be a neuron or a transit-amplifying cell (a committed neuronal precursor that will divide to give rise to two neurons). We identified and analyzed the protein mPar3, which seggregates into one half of the dividing cell, and we identified two other molecules downstream of mPar3, through which mPar3 regulates cell fate (“stem cell” versus “neuron”) of the daughter cells.