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J Cell Biol. 2000 Mar 6;148(5):1021-34.

P(0) glycoprotein overexpression causes congenital hypomyelination of peripheral nerves.

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Department of Neurology and Department of Biological and Technological Research (DIBIT), San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milano, Italy.


We show that normal peripheral nerve myelination depends on strict dosage of the most abundantly expressed myelin gene, myelin protein zero (Mpz). Transgenic mice containing extra copies of Mpz manifested a dose-dependent, dysmyelinating neuropathy, ranging from transient perinatal hypomyelination to arrested myelination and impaired sorting of axons by Schwann cells. Myelination was restored by breeding the transgene into the Mpz-null background, demonstrating that dysmyelination does not result from a structural alteration or Schwann cell-extrinsic effect of the transgenic P(0) glycoprotein. Mpz mRNA overexpression ranged from 30-700%, whereas an increased level of P(0) protein was detected only in nerves of low copy-number animals. Breeding experiments placed the threshold for dysmyelination between 30 and 80% Mpz overexpression. These data reveal new points in nerve development at which Schwann cells are susceptible to increased gene dosage, and suggest a novel basis for hereditary neuropathy.

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