Glial-guided neuronal migration in P19 embryonal carcinoma stem cell aggregates

Marcelo F. Santiago, Sean S. Liour, Rosalia Mendez-Otero, Robert K. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


During development of the nervous system, neuronal precursors that originated in proliferative regions migrate along radial glial fibers to reach their final destination. P19 embryonal carcinoma (EC) stem cells exposed to retinoic acid (RA) differentiate into neurons, glia, and fibroblast-like cells. In this work, we induced P19 aggregates for 4 days with RA and plated them onto tissue culture dishes coated with poly-L-lysine. Several cells migrated out of and/or extended processes from the aggregates after 24 hr. Some cell processes were morphologically similar to radial glial fibers and stained for glial fibrillar acidic protein (GFAP) and nestin. Large numbers of migrating cells showed characteristics similar to those of bipolar migrating neurons and expressed the neuronal marker microtubule-associated protein 2. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed an intimate association between the radial fibers and the migrating cells. Therefore, the migration of neuron-like cells on radial glia fibers in differentiated P19 aggregates resembled some of the migration models used thus far to study gliophilic neuronal migration. In addition, HPTLC analysis in this system showed the expression of 9-O-acetyl GD3, a ganglioside that has been associated with neuronal migration. Antibody perturbation assays showed that immunoblockage of 9-O-acetyl GD3 arrested neuronal migration in a reversible manner. In summary, we have characterized a new cell culture model for investigation of glial-guided neuronal migration and have shown that 9-O-acetyl GD3 ganglioside has an important role in this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • 9-O-acetyl GD3
  • Gangliosides
  • Neuronal migration
  • P19 EC stem cells
  • Radial glia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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