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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Apr;17(4):624-36.

Cytoskeletal reorganization during the formation of oligodendrocyte processes and branches.

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  • 1Department of Medical Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


During oligodendrocyte development, signals relevant to process formation must be transduced into appropriate changes in cytoskeletal organization. We have explored how microtubules and microfilaments interact during the outgrowth and branching of oligodendrocyte processes in culture. We observed that microfilaments are enriched in the peripheral region beneath the plasma membrane and constitute the major cytoskeletal element at the leading edge of the process, which is also enriched in the B-isoform of the non-muscle myosin II heavy chain. Microtubules form a dense bundle within the process and splay before extending into the leading edge and branches, following tracks laid by microfilaments. Pharmacologic disruption of microfilaments and microtubules compromised normal process outgrowth and branching. However, microtubules rapidly reinvaded most processes after removal of both antimicrotubule and antimicrofilament drugs, but the reinvasion was severely compromised if the antimicrofilament drug was retained. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that microfilaments guide the local reorganization of microtubules for the elongation of oligodendrocyte processes and the formation of new branches.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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