In the central nervous system (CNS), oligodendrocytes myelinate multiple axons; in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), Schwann cells (SCs) myelinate a single axon. Why are the myelinating potentials of these glia so fundamentally different? Here, we find that loss of Fbxw7, an E3 ubiquitin ligase component, enhances the myelinating potential of SCs. Fbxw7 mutant SCs make thicker myelin sheaths and sometimes appear to myelinate multiple axons in a fashion reminiscent of oligodendrocytes. Several Fbxw7 mutant phenotypes are due to dysregulation of mTOR; however, the remarkable ability of mutant SCs to ensheathe multiple axons is independent of mTOR signaling. This indicates distinct roles for Fbxw7 in SC biology including modes of axon interactions previously thought to fundamentally distinguish myelinating SCs from oligodendrocytes. Our data reveal unexpected plasticity in the myelinating potential of SCs, which may have important implications for our understanding of both PNS and CNS myelination and myelin repair.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)