Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

August 2007


Axon–glial interactions are critical for the induction of myelination and the domain organization of myelinated fibers. Although molecular complexes that mediate these interactions in the nodal region are known, their counterparts along the internode are poorly defined. We report that neurons and Schwann cells express distinct sets of nectin-like (Necl) proteins: axons highly express Necl-1 and -2, whereas Schwann cells express Necl-4 and lower amounts of Necl-2. These proteins are strikingly localized to the internode, where Necl-1 and -2 on the axon are directly apposed by Necl-4 on the Schwann cell; all three proteins are also enriched at Schmidt-Lanterman incisures. Binding experiments demonstrate that the Necl proteins preferentially mediate heterophilic rather than homophilic interactions. In particular, Necl-1 on axons binds specifically to Necl-4 on Schwann cells. Knockdown of Necl-4 by short hairpin RNA inhibits Schwann cell differentiation and subsequent myelination in cocultures. These results demonstrate a key role for Necl-4 in initiating peripheral nervous system myelination and implicate the Necl proteins as mediators of axo–glial interactions along the internode.


This work was originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, available at doi:10.1083/jcb.200705132.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.