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J Neurosci Res. 2001 Sep 15;65(6):485-92.

Differential sensitivity in the survival of oligodendrocyte cell lines to overexpression of myelin proteolipid protein gene products.

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Mental Retardation Research Center, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The proteolipid (PLP) gene encodes at least four proteins, including the classic PLP and DM20, which are important components of the myelin sheath, and the recently identified soma-restricted (sr) isoforms, srPLP and srDM20. The classic PLP and DM20 gene products have been implicated in oligodendrocyte survival by overexpression studies in vitro and in vivo. The classic and sr proteolipids are targeted to different cellular compartments in the oligodendrocyte, suggesting different cellular functions. Accordingly, we examined the effects of in vitro overexpression of the sr-PLP/DM20 isoforms on the survival of stably transfected, conditionally immortalized, oligodendroglial cell lines and compared this to overexpression of the classic and the jimpy-mutated proteolipids. The results indicate that overexpression of either normal or jimpy classic PLP/DM20 resulted in a dramatic reduction in the survival of the oligodendrocyte cell lines at the nonpermissive temperature, but not the COS-7 cell line, a cell line expressing the same oncogene constitutively. Survival of the oligodendrocyte cell lines was significantly less affected when either the sr-PLP/DM20 or the dopamine D-2 receptor, another cell membrane protein, was overexpressed in the cell lines. These results suggest that overexpression of the "classic" PLP or DM20 can compromise the survival of oligodendrocytes whether or not they are mutated. Furthermore, they suggest that the internal mechanisms for normal targeting of the PLP/DM20 isoforms of either the "classic" or the "sr" types influence the oligodendrocyte's ability to survive when these proteolipids are overexpressed.

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