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In postnatal development of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), Schwann cells differentiate to insulate neuronal axons with myelin sheaths, increasing the nerve conduction velocity. To produce the mature myelin sheath with its multiple layers, Schwann cells undergo dynamic morphological changes. While extracellular molecules such as growth factors and cell adhesion ligands are known to regulate the myelination process, the intracellular molecular mechanism underlying myelination remains unclear. In this study, we have produced Schwann cell-specific conditional knockout mice for cytohesin-2, a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) specifically activating Arf6. Arf6, a member of the Ras-like protein family, participates in various cellular functions including cell morphological changes. Cytohesin-2 knockout mice exhibit decreased Arf6 activity and reduced myelin thickness in the sciatic nerves, with decreased expression levels of myelin protein zero (MPZ), the major myelin marker protein. These results are consistent with those of experiments in which Schwann cell-neuronal cultures were treated with pan-cytohesin inhibitor SecinH3. On the other hand, the numbers of Ki67-positive cells in knockout mice and controls are comparable, indicating that cytohesin-2 does not have a positive effect on cell numbers. Thus, signaling through cytohesin-2 is required for myelination by Schwann cells, and cytohesin-2 is added to the list of molecules known to underlie PNS myelination. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Tomohiro Torii, Nobuhiko Ohno, Yuki Miyamoto, Kazuko Kawahara, Yurika Saitoh, Kazuaki Nakamura, Shou Takashima, Hiroyuki Sakagami, Akito Tanoue, Junji Yamauchi. Arf6 guanine-nucleotide exchange factor cytohesin-2 regulates myelination in nerves. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2015 May 8;460(3):819-25

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PMID: 25824033

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