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Development. 2001 Jul;128(13):2485-96.

Knockout mice reveal a contribution of the extracellular matrix molecule tenascin-C to neural precursor proliferation and migration.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics and Cambridge Center for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, UK.


The extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin-C is widely expressed in the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) during development and repair. Despite multiple effects of tenascin-C on cell behaviour in culture, no structural abnormalities of the CNS and other organs have been found in adult tenascin-C-null mice, raising the question of whether this glycoprotein has a significant role in vivo. Using a transgenic approach, we have demonstrated that tenascin-C regulates both cell proliferation and migration in oligodendrocyte precursors during development. Knockout mice show increased rates of oligodendrocyte precursor migration along the optic nerve and reduced rates of oligodendrocyte precursor proliferation in different regions of the CNS. Levels of programmed cell death were reduced in areas of myelination at later developmental stages, providing a potential corrective mechanism for any reduction in cell numbers that resulted from the proliferation phenotype. The effects on cell proliferation are mediated via the alphavbeta3 integrin and an interaction with the platelet-derived growth factor-stimulated mitogenic pathway, emphasising the importance of both CNS extracellular matrix and integrin growth factor interactions in the regulation of neural precursor behaviour.

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