Background: The repressor element-1 (RE1) silencing transcription factor/ neuron-restrictive silencer factor (REST/NRSF) is a master transcriptional regulator that binds to numerous genomic RE1 sites where it acts as a molecular scaffold for dynamic recruitment of modulatory and epigenetic cofactors, including corepressor for element-1-silencing transcription factor (CoREST). CoREST also acts as a hub for various cofactors that play important roles in epigenetic remodeling and transcriptional regulation. While REST can recruit CoREST to its macromolecular complex, CoREST complexes also function at genomic sites independently of REST. REST and CoREST perform a broad array of context-specific functions, which include repression of neuronal differentiation genes in neural stem cells (NSCs) and other non-neuronal cells as well as promotion of neurogenesis. Despite their involvement in multiple aspects of neuronal development, REST and CoREST are not believed to have any direct modulatory roles in glial cell maturation. Methodology/Principal Findings: We challenged this view by performing the first study of REST and CoREST in NSC-mediated glial lineage specification and differentiation. Utilizing ChIP on chip (ChIP-chip) assays, we identified distinct but overlapping developmental stage-specific profiles for REST and CoREST target genes during astrocyte (AS) and oligodendrocyte (OL) lineage specification and OL lineage maturation and myelination, including many genes not previously implicated in glial cell biology or linked to REST and CoREST regulation. Amongst these factors are those implicated in macroglial (AS and OL) cell identity, maturation, and maintenance, such as members of key developmental signaling pathways and combinatorial transcription factor codes. Conclusions/Significance: Our results imply that REST and CoREST modulate not only neuronal but also glial lineage elaboration. These factors may therefore mediate critical developmental processes including the coupling of neurogenesis and gliogenesis and neuronal-glial interactions that underlie synaptic and neural network plasticity and homeostasis in health and in specific neurological disease states.
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