Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Nodes of Ranvier form in association with ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM)-positive Schwann cell processes

By Carmen V. Melendez-Vasquez, Jose C. Rios, George Zanazzi, Stephen Lambert, Anthony Bretscher and James L. Salzer


In the adult peripheral nerve, microvillous processes of myelinating Schwann cells project to the nodes of Ranvier; their composition and physiologic function have not been established. As the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) proteins are expressed in the microvilli of many epithelial cells, we have examined the expression and distribution of these proteins in Schwann cells and neurons in vitro and in vivo. Cultured Schwann cells express high levels of all three proteins and the ezrin-binding protein 50, whereas neurons express much lower, although detectable, levels of radixin and moesin. Ezrin is specific for Schwann cells. All three ERM proteins are expressed predominantly at the membrane of cultured Schwann cells, notably in their microvilli. In vivo, the ERM proteins are concentrated strikingly in the nodal processes of myelinating Schwann cells. Because these processes are devoid of myelin proteins, they represent a unique compartment of the myelinating Schwann cell. During development, the ERM proteins become concentrated at the ends of Schwann cells before myelin basic protein expression, demonstrating that Schwann cells are polarized longitudinally at the onset of myelination. ERM-positive Schwann cell processes overlie and are associated closely with nascent nodes of Ranvier, identified by clusters of ankyrin G. Ankyrin accumulation at the node precedes that of Caspr at the paranodes and therefore does not depend on the presence of mature paranodal junctions. These results demonstrate that nodes of Ranvier in the peripheral nervous system form in contact with specialized processes of myelinating Schwann cells that are highly enriched in ERM proteins

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
Sorry, our data provider has not provided any external links therefore we are unable to provide a link to the full text.

Suggested articles

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.