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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Oct;17(5):533-40. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

Wrapping it up: the cell biology of myelination.

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Centre for Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, Humboldltallee 23, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.


During nervous system development, oligodendroglia in the central nervous system (CNS) and Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) synthesise large amounts of specific proteins and lipids to generate myelin, a specialised membrane that spirally ensheathes axons and facilitates fast conduction of the action potential. Myelination is initiated after glial processes have attached to the axon and polarisation of the plasma membrane has been triggered. Myelin assembly is a multi-step process that occurs in spatially distinct regions of the cell. We propose that assembly of myelin proteins and lipids starts during their transport through the biosynthetic pathway and continues at the plasma membrane aided by myelin-basic protein (MBP). These sequential processes create the special lipid and protein composition necessary for myelin to perform its insulating function during nerve conduction.

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