TU Dresden


Proliferation and Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells

Fig. The picture was obtained by Sara Bragado Alonso in the lab and it shows a mouse dentate gyrus infected with viruses expressing either RFP (red) or GFP (green). The experiment eventually revealed to be useless but the picture is great nonetheless.

Essentially all cells of the central nervous system are generated during embryonic development by neural stem cells (NSC). A small population of NSC persists in specific areas of the adult brain where they generate new neurons throughout life. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms underlying the expansion of NSC in order to control the generation of neurons in the mammalian brain. Controlling neurogenesis during development or adulthood is important not only to understand brain development and the role of adult neurogenesis in cognitive function but also to use NSC for brain recovery during aging, neurodegenerative disease or injury.

Previous and current research

It’s just a matter of Time

Neural stem cells (NSC), like any other somatic stem cell, can divide to generate either two identical stem cells (proliferative division) or more differentiated cells, such us neurons (differentiative division). We found that the length of the G1 phase of the cell cycle acts as a switch determining whether a NSC will undergo a proliferative vs. differentiative division (Fig. 1A). In essence, stem cells need Time in order to differentiate and this is provided during G1. The cool part is that we can change G1 as we wish… well, sort of. more

Future projects and goals

If you endured reading through "Previous and Current Research" and could understand more than the average editor usually does, then you must also be able to have a fair idea of our future ambitions.

Selected publications

Bragado Alonso  S, Reinert  JK, Marichal  N, Massalini  S, Berninger  B, Kuner  T, Calegari  F (2019) An increase in neural stem cells and olfactory bulb adult neurogenesis improves discrimination of highly similar odorants. EMBO J, 38: e98791

Artegiani B, de Jesus Domingues AM, Bragado Alonso A, Brandl E, Massalini S, Dahl A and Calegari F (2014) Tox: A multifunctional transcription factor and novel regulator of mammalian corticogenesis. EMBO J, 34:896-910

Borrell V and Calegari F (2014) Mechanisms of brain evolution: regulation of neural progenitor cell diversity and cell cycle length. Neurosci Res. 86:14-24

Aprea J, Prenninger S, Dori M, Ghosh T, Monasor LS, Wessendorf E, Zocher S, Massalini S, Alexopoulou D, Lesche M, Dahl A, Groszer M, Hiller M, Calegari F (2013) Transcriptome sequencing during mouse brain development identifies long non-coding RNAs functionally involved in neurogenic commitment. EMBO J. 32:3145-60.

Nonaka-Kinoshita M, Reillo I, Artegiani B, Martinez M, Nelson M, Borrell V and Calegari F (2013) Regulation of cerebral cortex size and folding by expansion of basal progenitors. EMBO J, 32:1817-28


Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Federico Calegari

Assistant to Group Leader

Jeannette Hoppe

Phone: +49 (0)351 458 82200