The process of oligodendrocyte differentiation is a complex event that requires cell cycle withdrawal, followed by the activation of a specific transcriptional program responsible for the synthesis of myelin genes. Because growth arrest precedes differentiation, we sought to investigate the role of cell cycle molecules in the activation of myelin gene promoters. We hypothesized that the cell cycle inhibitor p27Kip1, which is primarily responsible for arresting proliferating oligodendrocyte progenitors, may be involved in the transcriptional regulation of myelin genes. In agreement with this hypothesis, overexpression of p27Kip1 in the CG4 cell line, but not in 3T3 fibroblasts, enhances the expression of luciferase driven by the myelin basic protein (MBP) promoter. Interestingly, this effect is specific for p27Kip1; overexpression of other cell cycle inhibitors had no effect. Additionally, this effect is independent of halting the cell cycle; treatment with the cell cycle blocker roscovitine did not affect MBP promoter usage. We conclude that p27Kip1 contributes to oligodendrocyte differentiation by regulating transcription of the MBP gene.
- Myelin basic protein
- Oligodendrocyte progenitor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience