Differential clustering of Caspr by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells

M. Eisenbach, E. Kartvelishvily, Y. Eshed-Eisenbach, T. Watkins, Annette Sorensen, C. Thomson, B. Ranscht, S.C. Barnett

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Formation of the paranodal axoglial junction (PNJ) requires the presence of three cell adhesion molecules: the 155-kDa isoform of neurofascin (NF155) on the glial membrane and a complex of Caspr and contactin found on the axolemma. Here we report that the clustering of Caspr along myelinated axons during development differs fundamentally between the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems. In cultures of Schwann cells (SC) and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, membrane accumulation of Caspr was detected only after myelination. In contrast, in oligodendrocytes (OL)/DRG neurons cocultures, Caspr was clustered upon initial glial cell contact already before myelination had begun. Premyelination clustering of Caspr was detected in cultures of oligodendrocytes and retinal ganglion cells, motor neurons, and DRG neurons as well as in mixed cell cultures of rat forebrain and spinal cords. Cocultures of oligodendrocyte precursor cells isolated from contactin- or neurofascin-deficient mice with wild-type DRG neurons showed that clustering of Caspr at initial contact sites between OL processes and the axon requires glial expression of NF155 but not of contactin. These results demonstrate that the expression of membrane proteins along the axolemma is determined by the type of the contacting glial cells and is not an intrinsic characteristic of the axon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3495-3501
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • myelin
  • nodes of ranvier
  • ranvier
  • axon–glia contact
  • paranodal junction


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