Analysis of Gpr126 function defines distinct mechanisms controlling the initiation and maturation of myelin.
In peripheral nerves, Schwann cells form the myelin sheath, which allows the efficient propagation of action potentials along axons. The transcription factor Krox20 regulates the initiation of myelination in Schwann cells and is also required to maintain mature myelin. The adhesion G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) Gpr126 is essential for Schwann cells to initiate myelination, but previous studies have not addressed the role of Gpr126 signaling in myelin maturation and maintenance. Through analysis of Gpr126 in zebrafish, we define two distinct mechanisms controlling the initiation and maturation of myelin. We show that gpr126 mutant Schwann cells elaborate mature myelin sheaths and maintain krox20 expression for months, provided that the early signaling defect is bypassed by transient elevation of cAMP. At the onset of myelination, Gpr126 and protein kinase A (PKA) function as a switch that allows Schwann cells to initiate krox20 expression and myelination. After myelination is initiated, krox20 expression is maintained and myelin maturation proceeds independently of Gpr126 signaling. Transgenic analysis indicates that the Krox20 cis-regulatory myelinating Schwann cell element (MSE) becomes active at the onset of myelination and that this activity is dependent on Gpr126 signaling. Activity of the MSE declines after initiation, suggesting that other elements are responsible for maintaining krox20 expression in mature nerves. We also show that elevated cAMP does not initiate myelination in the absence of functional Neuregulin 1 (Nrg1) signaling. These results indicate that the mechanisms regulating the initiation of myelination are distinct from those mediating the maturation and maintenance of myelin.
PubMed ID: 23804499
PMC ID: PMC3931731
Article link: Development.
Grant support: 5T32GM007790 NIGMS NIH HHS , R01NS050223 NINDS NIH HHS
Genes referenced: egr2 eno3 gpr126 gprc6a nrg1