The p53 Pathway Controls SOX2-Mediated Reprogramming in the Adult Mouse Spinal Cord

Lei Lei Wang, Zhida Su, Wenjiao Tai, Yuhua Zou, Xiao Ming Xu, Chun Li Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Although the adult mammalian spinal cord lacks intrinsic neurogenic capacity, glial cells can be reprogrammed in vivo to generate neurons after spinal cord injury (SCI). How this reprogramming process is molecularly regulated, however, is not clear. Through a series of in vivo screens, we show here that the p53-dependent pathway constitutes a critical checkpoint for SOX2-mediated reprogramming of resident glial cells in the adult mouse spinal cord. While it has no effect on the reprogramming efficiency, the p53 pathway promotes cell-cycle exit of SOX2-induced adult neuroblasts (iANBs). As such, silencing of either p53 or p21 markedly boosts the overall production of iANBs. A neurotrophic milieu supported by BDNF and NOG can robustly enhance maturation of these iANBs into diverse but predominantly glutamatergic neurons. Together, these findings have uncovered critical molecular and cellular checkpoints that may be manipulated to boost neuron regeneration after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-903
Number of pages13
JournalCell Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 11 2016


  • BDNF
  • SOX2
  • adult neurogenesis
  • in vivo reprogramming
  • neural progenitors
  • neural regeneration
  • noggin
  • p21
  • p53
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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