Möbius W, Hümmert S, Ruhwedel T, Kuzirian A, Gould R
Life. 2021; 11(2):136.
Although myelinated nervous systems are shared among 60,000 jawed vertebrates, studies aimed at understanding myelination have focused more and more on mice and zebrafish. To obtain a broader understanding of the myelination process, we examined the little skate, Leucoraja erinacea. The reasons behind initiating studies at this time include: the desire to study a species belonging to an out group of other jawed vertebrates; using a species with embryos accessible throughout development; the availability of genome sequences; and the likelihood that mammalian antibodies recognize homologs in the chosen species. We report that the morphological features of myelination in a skate hatchling, a stage that supports complex behavioral repertoires needed for survival, are highly similar in terms of: appearances of myelinating oligodendrocytes (CNS) and Schwann cells (PNS); the way their levels of myelination conform to axon caliber; and their identity in terms of nodal and paranodal specializations. These features provide a core for further studies to determine: axon–myelinating cell communication; the structures of the proteins and lipids upon which myelinated fibers are formed; the pathways used to transport these molecules to sites of myelin assembly and maintenance; and the gene regulatory networks that control their expressions.