Expression of myelin P0 protein by myelinating Schwann cells in vivo is dependent on axonal influences. This report describes P0 gene expression during development of rat sciatic nerve and spinal nerve roots using Northern blotting, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. We demonstrate that: (1) the appearance of P0 mRNA and P0 protein in Schwann cells during nerve development in the rat begins prenatally, at day 18 post-fertilization (E18); (2) P0 mRNA and P0 protein have essentially identical developmental profiles, and are expressed in Schwann cells that are many days prior to myelin formation; (3) initial P0 gene expression is greatest in Schwann cells at the periphery of nerve bundles and in Schwann cells in contact with motor axons; (4) the decline in P0 expression with nerve maturation is accompanied by a sharp decline in P0 message levels in most Schwann cells, but a small subpopulation of these cells continue to synthesize very high levels of P0 mRNA. This study provides data on myelin P0 protein gene expression and distribution during PNS development and adds further insights into the axonal influences controlling Schwann cell behaviour during myelination of the rat PNS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology