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Keywords:

  • phosphorylation;
  • myelin/oligodendrocyte specific protein;
  • galactocerebroside;
  • cytoskeleton

Abstract

Treatment of cultured oligodendrocytes with a monoclonal antibody to galactocerebroside (GalC) triggers a cascade of events including the redistribution of membrane surface GalC over internal domains of MBP and loss of microtubular structures within the sheets (Dyer and Benjamins: J Neurosci 8:4307–4318, 1988; Dyer and Benjamins: J Neurosci Res 24:212–221, 1989). In this report, wild type and myelin basic protein (MBP)-deficient shiverer oligodendrocytes were used to study the possible relationships between these events, and specifically to determine if MBP mediates signals which destabilize microtubular assemblies in cultured oligodendrocytes. We now show that MBP and GalC, which are both initially Triton X-100 soluble, become Triton X-100 insoluble following anti-GalC binding and anti-GalC:GalC complex redistribution, suggesting that the surface anti-GalC: GalC complexes become associated with cytoplasmic MBP. Mediation of the signaling event by MBP is further demonstrated by (1) a decreased phosphorylation of MBP in wild type oligodendrocytes after antibody binding, and (2) the absence of responses, such as GalC redistribution and microtubule loss, in MBP-deficient shiverer oligodendrocytes treated with anti-GalC. Continuous activation of the GalC/MBP pathway for 7 days in wild type oligodendrocytes results in enlarged cell bodies and production of numerous microprocesses, a morphology that is similar to MBP-deficient shiverer oligodendrocytes. A second signaling pathway which produces an opposite effect, i.e., the stabilization and apparent up-regulation of microtubular structures in cultured oligodendrocyte membrane sheets, remains functional in shiverer oligodendrocytes. Thus, MBP appears to be important for mediating extracellular signals that cause a loss of microtubular structures in oligodendrocyte membrane sheets and abnormal morphology. Copyright © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.