The successful transduction of action potentials along vertebrate axons is highly reliant on myelin, the concentric layers of membrane surrounding most large diameter axons. Within the central nervous system myelin is produced by oligodendrocytes. Developmentally, the oligodendrocyte linage arises from subventricular zone progenitors that give rise to oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which divide and migrate throughout the CNS before terminally differentiating to generate mature oligodendrocytes which myelinate receptive axons. Each step of progression along the lineage is under tight transcriptional control, elucidation of this control is vital for understanding developmental myelination and for developing strategies to promote repair in demyelinating diseases. Recent studies have identified a number of new transcriptional regulators and microRNAs as having key roles in CNS myelination.
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