The Investigation of NPCs Mitochondrial Features and its Impact on NPCs neurogenesis

Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are pre-differentiated neural stem cells that contribute to the diverse cell types of the nervous system. NPCs can divide symmetrically, increasing the number of NPCs, and divide asymmetrically to generate neurons (neurogenesis). The mechanisms that regulate NPCs’ proliferation and differentiation are unclear, but their fate is thought to be regulated in part by the cells’ mitochondria, the common organelle that is known to be the powerhouse of cells [6]. Unlike mature neurons that rely heavily on mitochondrial ATP, the usual biological carrier of energy, NPCs and other stem cells prefer glycolysis as their energy source, which does not need mitochondria. In most cells, including NPCs, mitochondria exhibit high motility, form networks by fusion, and can separate to become individual organelles through fission. The fusion process mediates the spatial distribution of axonal mitochondria of neurons, though this has not been studied in NPCs [1]. These mitochondrial features are likely to be associated with the type of cells that NPCs produce when they divide, but have yet only been observed in vitro (outside of a living organism) and have not been examined in an intact nervous system. Previous studies have neglected to investigate the specific pattern of NPC mitochondria and its association with NPC’s development. Quantifying the morphology, the distribution, and the dynamics of NPC mitochondria will help to understand the mechanism of NPC’s development. Therefore, my research aims to determine these NPC mitochondrial features. I hypothesize that the neurogenic process of NPCs is triggered through an increase in mitochondrial motility and directional migration toward soma, the site of cell division in these cells.