A dendritic-like microtubule network is organized from swellings of the basal fiber in neural progenitors

L. Coquand, G.S. Victoria, A. Tata, J.B. Brault, F. Guimiot, V. Fraisier, A. D. Baffet

AbstractNeurons of the neocortex are generated by neural progenitors called radial glial cells. These polarized cells extend a short apical process towards the ventricular surface and a long basal fiber that acts as a scaffold for neuronal migration. How the microtubule cytoskeleton is organized in these cells to support long-range transport in unknown. Using subcellular live imaging within brain tissue, we show that microtubules in the apical process uniformly emanate for the pericentrosomal region, while microtubules in the basal fiber display a mixed polarity, reminiscent of the mammalian dendrite. We identify acentrosomal microtubule organizing centers localized in swellings of the basal fiber. We characterize their distribution and demonstrate that they accumulate the minus end stabilizing factor CAMSAP3 and TGN-related membranes, from which the majority of microtubules grow. Finally, using live imaging of human fetal cortex, we show that this organization is conserved in basal radial glial (bRG) cells, a highly abundant progenitor cell population associated with human brain size expansion.