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Glia. 2012 Mar;60(3):393-403.

Cthrc1 is a negative regulator of myelination in Schwann cells.

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Ecole Normale Supérieure, IBENS, Developmental Biology Section, 75230 Paris cedex 05, France.


The analysis of the molecular mechanisms involved in the initial interaction between neurons and Schwann cells is a key issue in understanding the myelination process. We recently identified Cthrc1 (Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1) as a gene upregulated in Schwann cells upon interaction with the axon. Cthrc1 encodes a secreted protein previously shown to be involved in migration and proliferation in different cell types. We performed a functional analysis of Cthrc1 in Schwann cells by loss-of- and gain-of-function approaches using RNA interference knockdown in cell culture and a transgenic mouse line that overexpresses the gene. This work establishes that Cthrc1 enhances Schwann cell proliferation but prevents myelination. In particular, time-course analysis of myelin formation intransgenic animals reveals that overexpression of Cthrc1 in Schwann cells leads to a delay in myelin formation with cells maintaining a proliferative state. Our data, therefore, demonstrate that Cthrc1 plays a negative regulatory role, fine-tuning the onset of peripheral myelination.

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