Supplementary Material for: Acute Lengthening of Progenitor Mitosis Influences Progeny Fate during Cortical Development in vivo

Background/Aims: Prenatal microcephaly is posited to arise from aberrant mitosis of neural progenitors, which disrupts both neuronal production and survival. Although microcephaly has both a genetic and environmental etiology, the mechanisms by which dysregulation of mitosis causes microcephaly are poorly understood. We previously discovered that prolonged mitosis of mouse neural progenitors, either ex vivo or in vitro, directly alters progeny cell fate, ­resulting in precocious differentiation and apoptosis. This raises questions as to whether prolonged progenitor mitosis affects cell fate and neurogenesis in vivo, and what are the underlying mechanisms? Methods/Results: Towards addressing these knowledge gaps, we developed an in vivo model of mitotic delay. This uses pharmacological inhibition to acutely and reversibly prolong mitosis during cortical development, and fluorescent dyes to label direct progeny. Using this model, we discovered that a causal relationship between mitotic delay of neural progenitors and altered progeny cell fate is evident in vivo. Using transcriptome analyses to investigate the state of delayed cells and their progeny, we uncovered potential molecular mechanisms by which prolonged mitosis induces altered cell fates, including DNA damage and p53 signaling. We then extended our studies to human neural progenitors, demonstrating that lengthened mitosis duration also directly alters neuronal cell fate. Conclusions: This study establishes a valuable new experimental paradigm towards understanding mechanisms whereby lengthened mitosis duration may explain some cases of microcephaly.