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Curr Biol. 2003 Jan 21;13(2):151-5.

Regulation of integrin growth factor interactions in oligodendrocytes by lipid raft microdomains.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, CB2 1QP, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Individual growth factors can regulate multiple aspects of behavior within a single cell during differentiation, with each signaling pathway controlled independently and also responsive to other receptors such as cell surface integrins. The mechanisms by which this is achieved remain poorly understood. Here we use myelin-forming oligodendrocytes and their precursors to examine the role of lipid rafts, cholesterol and sphingolipid-rich microdomains of the cell membrane implicated in cell signaling. In these cells, the growth factor PDGF has sequential and independent roles in proliferation and survival. We show that the oligodendrocyte PDGFalpha receptor becomes sequestered in a raft compartment at the developmental stage when PDGF ceases to promote proliferation, but is now required for survival. We also show that laminin-2, which is expressed on axons in the CNS and which provides a target-dependent signal for oligodendrocyte survival by amplification of PDGFalphaR signaling, induces clustering of the laminin binding integrin alpha6beta1 with the PDGFalphaR-containing lipid raft domains. This extracellular matrix-induced colocalization of integrin and growth factor receptor generates a signaling environment within the raft for survival-promoting PI3K/Akt activity. These results demonstrate novel signaling roles for lipid rafts that ensure the separation and amplification of growth factor signaling pathways during development.

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