Protein Zero (P0), the major structural protein in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) myelin, acts as a homotypic adhesion molecule and is thought to mediate compaction of adjacent wraps of myelin membrane. E-Cadherin, a calcium-dependent adhesion molecule, is also expressed in myelinating Schwann cells in the PNS and is involved in forming adherens junctions between adjacent loops of membrane at the paranode. To determine the relationship, if any, between P0-mediated and cadherin-mediated adhesion during myelination, we investigated the expression of E-cadherin and its binding partner, β-catenin, in sciatic nerve of mice lacking P0 (P0-/-). We find that in P0-/- peripheral myelin neither E-cadherin nor β-catenin are localized to paranodes, but are instead found in small puncta throughout the Schwann cell. In addition, only occasional, often rudimentary, adherens junctions are formed. Analysis of E-cadherin and β-catenin expression during nerve development demonstrates that E-cadherin and β-catenin are localized to the paranodal region after the onset of myelin compaction. Interestingly, axoglial junction formation is normal in P0-/- nerve. Taken together, these data demonstrate that P0 is necessary for the formation of adherens junctions but not axoglial junctions in myelinating Schwann cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology