Brg1 directly regulates Olig2 transcription and is required for oligodendrocyte progenitor cell specification

Steven Matsumoto, Fatima Banine, Kerstin Feistel, Scott Foster, Rubing Xing, Jaime Struve, Larry S. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The Olig2 basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor promotes oligodendrocyte specification in early neural progenitor cells (NPCs), including radial glial cells, in part by recruiting SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes to the enhancers of genes involved in oligodendrocyte differentiation. How Olig2 expression is regulated during oligodendrogliogenesis is not clear. Here, we find that the Brg1 subunit of SWI/SNF complexes interacts with a proximal Olig2 promoter and represses Olig2 transcription in the mouse cortex at E14, when oligodendrocyte progenitors (OPCs) are not yet found in this location. Brg1 does not interact with the Olig2 promoter in the E14 ganglionic eminence, where NPCs differentiate into Olig2-positive OPCs. Consistent with these findings, Brg1-null NPCs demonstrate precocious expression of Olig2 in the cortex. However, these cells fail to differentiate into OPCs. We further find that Brg1 is necessary for neuroepithelial-to-radial glial cell transition, but not neuronal differentiation despite a reduction in expression of the pro-neural transcription factor Pax6. Collectively, these and earlier findings support a model whereby Brg1 promotes neurogenic radial glial progenitor cell specification but is dispensable for neuronal differentiation. Concurrently, Brg1 represses Olig2 expression and the specification of OPCs, but is required for OPC differentiation and oligodendrocyte maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2016


  • Brg1
  • Olig2
  • Oligodendrocyte progenitors
  • Pax6
  • Radial glia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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