A pathway controlled by three proteins — Daam2, Nedd4, and VHL — was identified by researchers as a key regulator of myelin production during central nervous system development and regeneration after injury.
Myelin, the protective fatty layer that covers nerve fibers and helps to speed transmission of signals between nerve cells, is damaged and lost in multiple sclerosis (MS).
The study “The Daam2–VHL–Nedd4 axis governs developmental and regenerative oligodendrocyte differentiation” was published in the journal Genes & Development.
Oligodendrocytes are the cells responsible for myelin production in the central nervous system (CNS, the brain and spinal cord). When they are lost or fail to work properly, myelin regeneration due to MS or after an injury is known to be comprised.
Yet, the mechanisms underlying the regeneration of myelin are still largely unknown.
Researchers led by Hyun Kyoung Lee, PhD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, investigated which genetic programs controlled myelin formation.
“Myelin is produced and assembled into sheaths by glial cells called oligodendrocytes (OL) via a series of steps regulated by signaling pathways,” Lee said in a press release.
“While several key features are common between developmental and regenerative myelination, it remains unclear how developmental programs are re-activated after an injury to initiate repair and regeneration in adulthood,” she added.
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