Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of oligodendrocyte development and myelination in the central nervous system

Ben Emery, Q. Richard Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations


Central nervous system (CNS) myelination by oligodendrocytes (OLs) is a highly orchestrated process involving well-defined steps from specification of neural stem cells into proliferative OL precursors followed by terminal differentiation and subsequent maturation of these precursors into myelinating OLs. These specification and differentiation processes are mediated by profound global changes in gene expression, which are in turn subject to control by both extracellular signals and regulatory networks intrinsic to the OL lineage. Recently, basic transcriptional mechanisms that control OL differentiation and myelination have begun to be elucidated at the molecular level and on a genome scale. The interplay between transcription factors activated by differentiation-promoting signals and master regulators likely exerts a crucial role in controlling stage-specific progression of the OL lineage. In this review, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding the transcription factors and the epigenetic programs including histone methylation, acetylation, chromatin remodeling, micro-RNAs, and noncoding RNAs that regulate development of OLs and myelination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this