Research ArticleNeuroscience

Phosphorylation of Cytohesin-1 by Fyn Is Required for Initiation of Myelination and the Extent of Myelination During Development

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Science Signaling  25 Sep 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 243, pp. ra69
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002802

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Schwann cells respond to cues from axons by transforming their cellular morphology and forming myelin. We demonstrated that the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) cytohesin-1 promoted myelination by activating the small guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Arf6. In mice, ablating cytohesin-1 delayed myelination and diminished the amount of myelin produced. We determined that the Src-family kinase Fyn phosphorylated tyrosine 382 (Y382) of cytohesin-1, and we generated transgenic mice that expressed a Schwann cell–specific phosphorylation mutant of cytohesin-1 (Y382F) that could not be targeted by Fyn. During development, these transgenic mice displayed delayed myelination compared to that of wild-type mice, as well as a decrease in the amount of myelin produced, similar to that observed in cytohesin-1−/− mice. These findings demonstrate that phosphorylation of cytohesin-1 by Fyn is required for full myelination and suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation of GEFs may be a mechanism to activate small GTPases engaged in cell morphogenesis.

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