Interaction of mTOR and Erk1/2 signaling to regulate oligodendrocyte differentiation.

PMID 25060812


A multitude of factors regulate oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination, and to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this process, we analyzed the interactions of known signaling pathways involved in these processes. Previous work from our lab and others shows that Akt, mTOR, and Erk 1/2 are major signaling pathways regulating oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination in vitro and in vivo. However, the relative contribution of the different pathways has been difficult to establish because the impact of inhibiting one pathway in in vitro cell culture models or in vivo may alter signaling through the other pathway. These studies were undertaken to clarify the interactions between these major pathways and understand more specifically the crosstalk between them. Oligodendrocyte differentiation in vitro required Akt, mTOR, and Erk 1/2 signaling, as inhibition of Akt, mTOR, or Erk 1/2 resulted in a significant decrease of myelin basic protein mRNA and protein expression. Interestingly, while inhibition of the Erk1/2 pathway had little impact on Akt/mTOR signaling, inhibition of the Akt/mTOR pathways significantly increased Erk1/2 signaling, although not enough to overcome the loss of Akt/mTOR signaling in the regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation. Furthermore, such crosstalk was also noted in an in vivo context, after mTOR inhibition by rapamycin treatment of perinatal pups. GLIA 2014;62:2096-2109.