Principal Investigator: Prof. Ljubisa Rakic, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
De novo neurogenesis occurs in discrete regions of the adult brain, while neuronal loss is a common feature of many neurological disorders, including stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury. Accordingly, one of the goals of neural precursor biology is to learn how to manipulate neural precursors towards therapeutic neuronal or glial repopulation and to increase neurogenesis. To achieve this goal, a better knowledge of the cellular and molecular signalling underlying neural differentiation and neurogenesis is needed. The aim of this proposal is to apply and to modify protocols for in vitro neural differentiation of embryonic stem and embryonic carcinoma cells and to perform comparative expression studies of the genes involved in neural differentiation, synaptic communication and plasticity including SOX genes and molecular components of GABA signaling. In addition, since it is well known that calcium signalling regulates both proliferation and differentiation during neuronal development, one of our aims is to study the correlation between disturbed gene expression and communication of calcium signals between the cells.