Abstract / Description of output
The spacing of nodes of Ranvier crucially affects conduction properties along myelinated axons. It is assumed that node position is primarily driven by growing myelin sheaths. Here, we reveal an additional mechanism of node positioning that is driven by the axon. Through longitudinal live imaging of node formation dynamics in the zebrafish central nervous system, we show that stable clusters of the cell adhesion molecule neurofascin a can accumulate at specific sites along axons prior to myelination. While some of these clusters are pushed into future node position by extending myelin sheaths, others are not and thus prefigure the position of where a mature node forms. Animals that lack full-length neurofascin a show increased internodal distances and less regular nodal spacing along single axons. Together, our data reveal the existence of an axonal mechanism to position nodes of Ranvier that does not depend on regulation by myelin sheath growth.