N-WASP is required for membrane wrapping and myelination by Schwann cells

Nurit Novak, Vered Bar, Helena Sabanay, Shahar Frechter, Martine Jaegle, Scott B. Snapper, Dies Meijer, Elior Peles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During peripheral nerve myelination, Schwann cells sort larger axons, ensheath them, and eventually wrap their membrane to form the myelin sheath. These processes involve extensive changes in cell shape, but the exact mechanisms involved are still unknown. Neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) integrates various extracellular signals to control actin dynamics and cytoskeletal reorganization through activation of the Arp2/3 complex. By generating mice lacking N-WASP in myelinating Schwann cells, we show that N-WASP is crucial for myelination. In N-WASP-deficient nerves, Schwann cells sort and ensheath axons, but most of them fail to myelinate and arrest at the promyelinating stage. Yet, a limited number of Schwann cells form unusually short internodes, containing thin myelin sheaths, with the occasional appearance of myelin misfoldings. These data suggest that regulation of actin filament nucleation in Schwann cells by N-WASP is crucial for membrane wrapping, longitudinal extension, and myelination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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