The nodes of Ranvier are regularly spaced gaps between myelin sheaths that are markedly enriched in voltage-gated sodium channels and associated proteins. Myelinating glia play a key role in promoting node formation, although the requisite glial signals remain poorly understood. In this study, we have examined the expression of glial proteoglycans in the peripheral and central nodes. We report that the heparan sulfate proteoglycan, syndecan-3, becomes highly enriched with PNS node formation; its ligand, collagen V, is also concentrated at the PNS nodes and at lower levels along the abaxonal membrane. The V1 isoform of versican, a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, is also present in the nodal gap. By contrast, CNS nodes are enriched in versican isoform V2, but not syndecan-3. We have examined the molecular composition of the PNS nodes in syndecan-3 knockout mice. Nodal components are normally expressed in mice deficient in syndecan-3, suggesting that it has a nonessential role in the organization of nodes in the adult. These results indicate that the molecular composition and extracellular environment of the PNS and CNS nodes of Ranvier are significantly distinct.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.