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J Neurosci. 2012 Feb 1;32(5):1517-27. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2895-11.2012.

The nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase chromatin remodeling (NuRD) complex is required for peripheral nerve myelination.

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  • 1Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA.


Several key transcription factors and coregulators important to peripheral nerve myelination have been identified, but the contributions of specific chromatin remodeling complexes to peripheral nerve myelination have not been analyzed. Chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 4 (Chd4) is the core catalytic subunit of the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) chromatin remodeling complex. Previous studies have shown Chd4 interacts with Nab (NGFI-A/Egr-binding) corepressors, which are required for early growth response 2 (Egr2/Krox20), to direct peripheral nerve myelination by Schwann cells. In this study, we examined the developmental importance of the NuRD complex in peripheral nerve myelination through the generation of conditional Chd4 knock-out mice in Schwann cells (Chd4(loxP/loxP); P0-cre). Chd4 conditional null mice were found to have delayed myelination, radial sorting defects, hypomyelination, and the persistence of promyelinating Schwann cells. Loss of Chd4 leads to elevated expression of immature Schwann cell genes (Id2, c-Jun, and p75), and sustained expression of the promyelinating Schwann cell gene, Oct6/Scip, without affecting the levels of Egr2/Krox20. Furthermore, Schwann cell proliferation is upregulated in Chd4-null sciatic nerve. In vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation studies reveal recruitment of Chd4 and another NuRD component, Mta2, to genes that are positively and negatively regulated by Egr2 during myelination. Together, these results underscore the necessity of Chd4 function to guide proper terminal differentiation of Schwann cells and implicate the NuRD chromatin remodeling complex as a requisite factor in timely and stable peripheral nerve myelination.

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