Neurochemical Research

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 213–228 | Cite as

White Matter Rafting––Membrane Microdomains in Myelin

Original Paper


The myelin membrane comprises a plethora of regions that are compositionally, ultrastructurally, and functionally distinct. Biochemical dissection of oligodendrocytes, Schwann cells, and central and peripheral nervous system myelin by means such as cold-detergent extraction and differential fractionation has led to the identification of a variety of detergent-resistant membrane assemblies, some of which represent putative signalling platforms. We review here the different microdomains that have hitherto been identified in the myelin membrane, particularly lipid rafts, caveolae, and cellular junctions such as the tight junctions that are found in the radial component of the CNS myelin sheath.


Lipid rafts Detergent-resistant membranes Cholesterol Caveolae Myelin Oligodendrocytes Radial component Cellular junctions 



bone morphogenetic protein


caveolin-enriched microdomain


3-[(3-cholamidopropyl) dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulphonate


ceramide galactosyl transferase


2′3′-cyclic nucleotide 3′phosphodiesterase


central nervous system




deletion mutant of PLP


detergent-resistant membrane


experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


endothelial nitric oxide synthase


electron paramagnetic resonance


fluorescence resonance energy transfer








myelin and lymphocyte protein


myelin-associated glycoprotein


mitogen-activated protein kinase


myelin basic protein


MAP kinase kinase


membrane-bound estrogen receptor


myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein


myelin-associated oligodendrocyte basic protein


myelin/oligodendrocyte specific protein


multiple sclerosis


neurofascin isoform of 155 kDa


nuclear magnetic resonance




oligodendrocyte-myelin glycoprotein


oligodendrocyte-specific protein


p75 neurotrophin receptor


platelet-derived growth factor


phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase


proteolipid protein


peripheral myelin protein 22


peripheral nervous system


Schwann cell


transmembrane 4 superfamily


Triton X-100


zonula occludens-1



The work in our laboratory has been supported by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MSSC), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. LDB has been the recipient of an MSSC Postdoctoral Fellowship. We are indebted to many colleagues past and present, but particularly Drs. Galina Radeva and Frances Sharom, University of Guelph, who trained us in the nuances of lipid raft preparation, and Drs. Tony and Celia Campagnoni, University of California at Los Angeles, who introduced us to oligodendrocyte cell culture and the world of Golli-proteins. We are also grateful to Dr. Joan Boggs, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, for many helpful discussions and comments on this manuscript. Fellow paddlers in our laboratory have been Mr. Jeffery Haines, Ms. Leigh Wellhauser, Ms. Amanda LaForest, Ms. Marta Ciechonska, and Ms. Kimberly Glenfield. Dr. Christopher Hill of our group provided Figure 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Biophysics Interdepartmental GroupUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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