, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 155-164
Date: 28 Feb 2013

Regulation of the timing of oligodendrocyte differentiation: mechanisms and perspectives

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Abstract

Axonal myelination is an essential process for normal functioning of the vertebrate central nervous system. Proper formation of myelin sheaths around axons depends on the timely differentiation of oligodendrocytes. This differentiation occurs on a predictable schedule both in culture and during development. However, the timing mechanisms for oligodendrocyte differentiation during normal development have not been fully uncovered. Recent studies have identified a large number of regulatory factors, including cell-intrinsic factors and extracellular signals, that could control the timing of oligodendrocyte differentiation. Here we provide a mechanistic and critical review of the timing control of oligodendrocyte differentiation.