The central role of Fyn kinase in axon-glial signalling and translation of myelin proteins

Abstract

During central nervous system myelination, oligodendrocytes extend membrane processes towards an axonal contact site which is followed by ensheathment resulting in a compacted multilamellar myelin sheath. The formation of this axon-glial unit facilitates rapid saltatory propagation of action potentials along the axon and requires the synthesis and transport of copious amounts of lipids and proteins to the axon-glial contact site. Fyn is a member of the Src family of non receptor tyrosine kinases and inserted into the inner leaflet of the oligodendrocyte membrane by acylation. Fyn activity plays a pivotal role in the maturation of oligodendrocytes and the myelination process. It was suggested previously that Fyn kinase can be stimulated by binding of a neuronal ligand to oligodendroglial F3/ contactin, a glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol anchored immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) member protein. It could be shown here, that neuronal cell adhesion molecule L1 binds to oligodendrocytes in an F3-dependent manner and activates glial Fyn. In the search for downstream participants of this novel axon-glial signalling cascade, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A2 was identified as a novel Fyn target in oligodendrocytes. HnRNP A2 was known to be involved in the localisation of translationally repressed myelin basic protein (MBP) mRNA by binding to a cis acting A2 response element (A2RE) present in the 3’ untranslated region. Transport of MBP mRNAs occurs in RNA-protein complexes termed RNA granules and translational repression during transport is achieved by hnRNP A2-mediated recruitment of hnRNP E1 to the granules. It could be shown here, that Fyn activity leads to enhanced translation of reporter mRNA containing a part of the 3’ UTR of MBP including the A2RE. Furthermore hnRNP E1 seems to dissociate from RNA granules in response to Fyn activity and L1 binding. These findings suggest a novel form of neuron- glial communication: Axonal L1 binding to oligodendroglial F3 activates Fyn kinase. Activated Fyn phosphorylates hnRNP A2 leading to removal of hnRNP E1 from RNA granules initiating the translation of MBP mRNA. MBP is the second most abundant myelin protein and mice lacking this protein show a severe hypomyelination phenotype. Moreover, the brains of Fyn knock out mice contain reduced MBP levels and are hypomyelinated. Hence, L1-mediated MBP synthesis via Fyn as a central molecule could be part of a regulatory mechanism required for myelinogenesis in the central nervous system

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