Assembly of CNS Nodes of Ranvier in Myelinated Nerves Is Promoted by the Axon Cytoskeleton

Abstract

Nodes of Ranvier in the axons of myelinated neurons are exemplars of the specialized cell surface domains typical of polarized cells. They are rich in voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) and thus underpin rapid nerve impulse conduction in the vertebrate nervous system [1]. Although nodal proteins cluster in response to myelination, how myelin-forming glia influence nodal assembly is poorly understood. An axoglial adhesion complex comprising glial Neurofascin155 and axonal Caspr/Contactin flanks mature nodes [2]. We have shown that assembly of this adhesion complex at the extremities of migrating oligodendroglial processes promotes process convergence along the axon during central nervous system (CNS) node assembly [3]. Here we show that anchorage of this axoglial complex to the axon cytoskeleton is essential for efficient CNS node formation. When anchorage is disrupted, both the adaptor Protein 4.1B and the cytoskeleton protein βII spectrin are mislocalized in the axon, and assembly of the node of Ranvier is significantly delayed. Nodal proteins and migrating oligodendroglial processes are no longer juxtaposed, and single detached nodal complexes replace the symmetrical heminodes found in both the CNS and peripheral nervous system (PNS) during development. We propose that axoglial adhesion complexes contribute to the formation of an interface between cytoskeletal elements enriched in Protein 4.1B and βII spectrin and those enriched in nodal ankyrinG and βIV spectrin. This clusters nascent nodal complexes at heminodes and promotes their timely coalescence to form the mature node of Ranvier. These data demonstrate a role for the axon cytoskeleton in the assembly of a critical neuronal domain, the node of Ranvier.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.025

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Current Biology

  • 2017