Sharif N, Calzolari F, Berninger B (2021) Direct In Vitro Reprogramming of Astrocytes into Induced Neurons. Methods Mol Biol 2352: 13-29

Spontaneous neuronal replacement is almost absent in the postnatal mammalian nervous system. However, several studies have shown that both early postnatal and adult astroglia can be reprogrammed in vitro or in vivo by forced expression of proneural transcription factors, such as Neurogenin-2 or Achaete-scute homolog 1 (Ascl1), to acquire a neuronal fate. The reprogramming process stably induces properties such as distinctly neuronal morphology, expression of neuron-specific proteins, and the gain of mature neuronal functional features. Direct conversion of astroglia into neurons thus possesses potential as a basis for cell-based strategies against neurological diseases. In this chapter, we describe a well-established protocol used for direct reprogramming of postnatal cortical astrocytes into functional neurons in vitro and discuss available tools and approaches to dissect molecular and cell biological mechanisms underlying the reprogramming process.

Pubmed: 34324177