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The subventricular zone of the mammalian brain is the major source of adult born neurons. These neuroblasts normally migrate long distances to the olfactory bulbs but can be re-routed to locations of injury and promote neuroregeneration. Mechanistic understanding and pharmacological targets regulating neuroblast migration is sparse. Furthermore, lack of migration assays limits development of pharmaceutical interventions targeting neuroblast recruitment. We therefore developed a physiologically relevant 3D neuroblast spheroid migration assay that permits the investigation of large numbers of interventions. To verify the assay, 1,012 kinase inhibitors were screened for their effects on migration. Several induced significant increases or decreases in migration. MuSK and PIK3CB were selected as putative targets and their knockdown validated increased neuroblast migration. Thus, compounds identified through this assay system could be explored for their potential in augmenting neuroblast recruitment to sites of injury for neuroregeneration, or for decreasing malignant invasion.

Original publication




Journal article


Stem cell reports

Publication Date





789 - 802


Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QX, UK.


Lateral Ventricles, Neurons, Spheroids, Cellular, Animals, Mice, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Cholinergic, Protein Kinase Inhibitors, Fluorescent Dyes, Biological Assay, Reproducibility of Results, Cell Movement, Automation, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Gene Knockdown Techniques, Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases, Time-Lapse Imaging