Decoding Cortical Glial Cell Development

Xiaosu Li1• Guoping Liu1• Lin Yang1• Zhenmeiyu Li1• Zhuangzhi Zhang1• Zhejun Xu1• Yuqun Cai1• Heng Du1• Zihao Su1• Ziwu Wang1• Yangyang Duan1• Haotian Chen1• Zicong Shang1• Yan You1• Qi Zhang1• Miao He1• Bin Chen2• Zhengang Yang1

1 State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Institutes of Brain Science, MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Department of Neurology, Institute for Translational Brain Research, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

2 Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA


Mouse cortical radial glial cells (RGCs) are primary neural stem cells that give rise to cortical oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and olfactory bulb (OB) GABAergic interneurons in late embryogenesis. There are fundamental gaps in understanding how these diverse cell subtypes are generated. Here, by combining single-cell RNA-Seq with intersectional lineage analyses, we show that beginning at around E16.5, neocortical RGCs start to generate ASCL1+EGFR+ apical multipotent intermediate progenitors (MIPCs), which then differentiate into basal MIPCs that express ASCL1, EGFR, OLIG2, and MKI67. These basal MIPCs undergo several rounds of divisions to generate most of the cortical oligodendrocytes and astrocytes and a subpopulation of OB interneurons. Finally, single-cell ATAC-Seq supported our model for the genetic logic underlying the specification and differentiation of cortical glial cells and OB interneurons. Taken together, this work reveals the process of cortical radial glial cell lineage progression and the developmental origins of cortical astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.


Radial glial cell ; Intermediate progenitor cell ; ASCL1 ; EGFR ; OLIG2 ; Oligodendrocyte ; Astrocyte ; Olfactory bulb interneuron ; Cerebral cortex


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