Neogenin, a regulator of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, prevents depressive-like behavior
Adult neurogenesis in hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) is a complex, but precisely controlled process. Dysregulation of this event contributes to multiple neurological disorders, including major depression. Thus, it is of considerable interest to investigate how adult hippocampal neurogenesis is regulated. Here, we present evidence for neogenin, a multifunctional transmembrane receptor, to regulate adult mouse hippocampal neurogenesis. Loss of neogenin in adult neural stem cells (NSCs) or neural progenitor cells (NPCs) impaired NSCs/NPCs proliferation and neurogenesis, whereas increased their astrocytic differentiation. Mechanistic studies revealed a role for neogenin to positively regulate Gli1, a crucial downstream transcriptional factor of sonic hedgehog, and expression of Gli1 into neogenin depleted NSCs/NPCs restores their proliferation. Further morphological and functional studies showed additional abnormities, including reduced dendritic branches and spines, and impaired glutamatergic neuro-transmission, in neogenin-depleted new-born DG neurons; and mice with depletion of neogenin in NSCs/NPCs exhibited depressive-like behavior. These results thus demonstrate unrecognized functions of neogenin in adult hippocampal NSCs/NPCs-promoting NSCs/NPCs proliferation and neurogenesis and preventing astrogliogenesis and depressive-like behavior, and suggest neogenin regulation of Gli1 signaling as a possible underlying mechanism.