Drp2 and Periaxin Form Cajal Bands with Dystroglycan But Have Distinct Roles in Schwann Cell Growth

Diane L. Sherman, Lai Man N. Wu, Matthew Grove, C. Stewart Gillespie, Peter J. Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cajal bands are cytoplasmic channels flanked by appositions where the abaxonal surface of Schwann cell myelin apposes and adheres to the overlying plasma membrane. These appositions contain a dystroglycan complex that includes periaxin and dystrophin-related protein 2 (Drp2). Loss of periaxin disrupts appositions and Cajal bands in Schwann cells and causes a severe demyelinating neuropathy in mouse and human. Here, we investigated the role of mouse Drp2 in apposition assembly and Cajal band function and compared it with periaxin. We show that periaxin and Drp2 are not only both required to form appositions, but they must also interact. Periaxin-Drp2 interaction is also required for Drp2 phosphorylation, but phosphorylation is not required for the assembly of appositions. Drp2 loss causes corresponding increases in Dystrophin family members, utrophin and dystrophin Dp116, although dystroglycan remains unchanged. We also show that all dystroglycan complexes in Schwann cells use the uncleaved form of beta-dystroglycan. Drp2-null Schwann cells have disrupted appositions and Cajal bands, and they undergo focal hypermyelination and concomitant demyelination. Nevertheless, they do not have the short internodal lengths and associated reduced nerve conduction velocity seen in the absence of periaxin, showing that periaxin regulates Schwann cell elongation independent of its role in the dystroglycan complex. We conclude that the primary role of the dystroglycan complex in appositions is to stabilize and limit the radial growth of myelin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9419-9428
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2012

Cite this