Quiescence is essential for the long-term maintenance of adult stem cells but how stem cells maintain quiescence is poorly understood. Here we show that neural stem cells in the adult mouse hippocampus actively transcribe the pro-activation factor Ascl1 regardless of their activated or quiescent states. We found that the inhibitor of DNA binding protein Id4 is enriched in quiescent neural stem cells and that elimination of Id4 results in abnormal accumulation of Ascl1 protein and premature stem cell activation. Accordingly, Id4 and other Id proteins promote elimination of Ascl1 protein in neural stem cell cultures. Id4 sequesters Ascl1 heterodimerisation partner E47, promoting Ascl1 protein degradation and stem cell quiescence. Our results highlight the importance of non-transcriptional mechanisms for the maintenance of neural stem cell quiescence and reveal a role for Id4 as a quiescence-inducing factor, in contrast with its role of promoting the proliferation of embryonic neural progenitors.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Blomfield, I.M. (Isabelle M.), Rocamonde, B. (Brenda), del Mar Masdeu, M. (Maria), Mulugeta, E. (Eskeatnaf), Vaga, S. (Stefania), van den Berg, D., … Urbán, N. (Noelia). (2019). Id4 promotes the elimination of the pro-activation factor ascl1 to maintain quiescence of adult hippocampal stem cells. eLife, 8. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/120382