Identification of genes in the oligodendrocyte lineage through the analysis of conditionally immortalized cell lines

Dev Neurosci. 2001;23(6):452-63. doi: 10.1159/000048732.


The mouse oligodendrocyte cell lines, N19 and N20.1, were used as sources of potential stage-specific RNA in order to construct a subtraction library enriched in cDNAs expressed early in the oligodendrocyte (OL) lineage. From this library, 23 clones were examined and three were examined in most detail. The mRNAs of the three library clones were preferentially expressed in the N19 (progenitor) compared to the N20.1 (immature) OL line. One of these corresponded to the intermediate filament protein cytokeratin K19, which has not been reported to be expressed in OLs previously. Another was identified as the mouse homolog of T-cadherin, previously reported not to be present in OLs. Antisera raised against a T-cadherin peptide indicated the protein colocalized with the OL lineage markers A(2)B(5), A007, and 01 in mouse primary glial cultures. However, small round cells resembling OL precursors labeled intensely with T-cadherin, but were negative for the other markers, suggesting that this gene might be expressed earlier in the lineage. In early postnatal brain, in addition to the expected neuronal tracts, the T-cadherin antibody labeled small bipolar cells, approximately 8-10 microm in diameter, in white matter tracts. These cells had the morphology of OLs or their precursors and were identified within the cerebellar white matter and the corpus callosum, regions rich in OLs. The third clone, 3g5, was homologous to the P8 clone isolated from rat pancreas. It encoded an 80-amino-acid polypeptide with a protein kinase C domain suggesting a possible role in signal transduction. Antisera to this peptide also colocalized 3g5 with cells expressing A(2)B(5), A007, and 01 in culture and in cells within white matter tracts which had the same morphology as those labeled by T-cadherin in these regions. In addition to these, beta(10) thymosin and mevalonate kinase clones were also isolated from the screen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / isolation & purification
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Gene Library
  • Genes / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • DNA, Complementary