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Fbxw7 regulates Notch to control specification of neural precursors for oligodendrocyte fate.

BACKGROUND: In the developing vertebrate nervous system elevated levels of Notch signaling activity can block neurogenesis and promote formation of glial cells. The mechanisms that limit Notch activity to balance formation of neurons and glia from neural precursors are poorly understood. RESULTS: By screening for mutations that disrupt oligodendrocyte development in zebrafish we found one allele, called vu56, that produced excess oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). Positional cloning revealed that the vu56 allele is a mutation of fbxw7, which encodes the substrate recognition component of a ubiquitin ligase that targets Notch and other proteins for degradation. To investigate the basis of the mutant phenotype we performed in vivo, time-lapse imaging, which revealed that the increase in OPC number resulted from production of extra OPCs by ventral spinal cord precursors and not from changes in OPC proliferation or death. Notch signaling activity was elevated in spinal cord precursors of fbxw7 mutant zebrafish and inhibition of Notch signaling suppressed formation of excess OPCs. CONCLUSION: Notch signaling promotes glia cell formation from neural precursors in vertebrate embryos. Our data indicate that Fbxw7 helps attenuate Notch signaling during zebrafish neural development thereby limiting the number of OPCs.

Pubmed ID: 22554084


  • Snyder JL
  • Kearns CA
  • Appel B


Neural development

Publication Data

July 26, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS046668
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P30 NS048154
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: T32 HD007502
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: T32 HD007502

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligodendroglia
  • Receptor, Notch1
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins