Speculations on myelin sheath evolution

D.R. Colman, J.P. Doyle, D. D'Urso, K. Kitagawa, L. Pedraza, M. Yoshida and A.M. Fannon

in Glial Cell Development

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9781872748542
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724367 | DOI:

Series: The Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Series

Speculations on myelin sheath evolution

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This chapter reviews studies on myelin sheath evolution. These suggest that members of well-studied gene superfamilies whose products are known to function as cell-cell recognition/adhesion molecules in a wide variety of tissues, but especially in epithelia, are in the myelin protein repertoire. Of course, the nervous system originates embryonically as an epithelium, and so it is interesting that ancient adhesion mechanisms seem to have been conserved and adapted for use in the myelin sheath. Particularly important in terms of myelination are the immunoglobulin and cadherin superfamilies, both of which are heavily represented in epithelia. Certain four hydrophobic-domain proteins, the proteolipid proteins, that are likely to be topologically and perhaps functionally related to 4TM or tetraspan proteins and membrane pores, also play major roles in myelin formation.

Keywords: myelin sheath evolution; gene superfamilies; myelination; immunoglobulin; cadherin; epithelia; proteolipid proteins

Chapter.  6666 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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