Insights into mechanisms of central nervous system myelination using zebrafish

Tim Czopka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Myelin is the multi-layered membrane that surrounds most axons and is produced by oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS). In addition to its important role in enabling rapid nerve conduction, it has become clear in recent years that myelin plays additional vital roles in CNS function. Myelinating oligodendrocytes provide metabolic support to axons and active myelination is even involved in regulating forms of learning and memory formation. However, there are still large gaps in our understanding of how myelination by oligodendrocytes is regulated. The small tropical zebrafish has become an increasingly popular model organism to investigate many aspects of nervous system formation, function, and regeneration. This is mainly due to two approaches for which the zebrafish is an ideally suited vertebrate model-(1) in vivo live cell imaging using vital dyes and genetically encoded reporters, and (2) gene and target discovery using unbiased screens. This review summarizes how the use of zebrafish has helped understand mechanisms of oligodendrocyte behavior and myelination in vivo and discusses the potential use of zebrafish to shed light on important future questions relating to myelination in the context of CNS development, function and repair. GLIA 2016;64:333-349 Main points: The mechanisms of central nervous system myelination are not well understood. Zebrafish are an attractive vertebrate model for live cell imaging and target discovery to address how myelination by oligodendrocytes is regulated in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
JournalGlia
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Live imaging
  • Oligodendrocyte
  • Screening
  • Target discovery

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