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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012, Article ID 454180, 9 pages
Review Article

Large Pore Ion and Metabolite-Permeable Channel Regulation of Postnatal Ventricular Zone Neural Stem and Progenitor Cells: Interplay between Aquaporins, Connexins, and Pannexins?

1Division of Medical Sciences, Island Medical Program, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 2Y2
2Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3N5
3Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3P6
4Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3

Received 5 April 2012; Accepted 27 April 2012

Academic Editor: Stefan Liebau

Copyright © 2012 Leigh E. Wicki-Stordeur and Leigh Anne Swayne. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The birth of new neurons from unspecialized neural stem and progenitor cells surrounding the lateral ventricles occurs throughout postnatal life. This process, termed neurogenesis, is complex and multistepped, encompassing several types of cellular behaviours, such as proliferation, differentiation, and migration. These behaviours are influenced by numerous factors present in the unique, permissive microenvironment. A major cellular mechanism for sensing the plethora of environmental cues directing this process is the presence of different channel forming proteins spanning the plasma membrane. So-called large pore membrane channels, which are selective for the passage of specific types of small molecules and ions, are emerging as an important subgroup of channel proteins. Here, we focus on the roles of three such large pore channels, aquaporin 4, connexin 43, and pannexin 1. We highlight both their independent functions as well as the accumulating evidence for crosstalk between them.