Induction of oligodendrocyte differentiation by Olig2 and Sox10: evidence for reciprocal interactions and dosage-dependent mechanisms

Dev Biol. 2007 Feb 15;302(2):683-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.10.007. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


Recent studies have suggested that oligodendrocyte development is likely to be under the control of a hierarchy of lineage-specific transcription factors. In the developing mouse spinal cord, expression of Olig2, Sox10 and Nkx2.2 is sequentially up-regulated in cells of oligodendrocyte lineage. These transcription factors play essential roles in oligodendrocyte specification and differentiation. However, the regulatory relationship and functional interactions among these transcription factors have not been determined. In this study, we systematically investigated the function and hierarchical relationship of Olig2, Sox10 and Nkx2.2 transcription factors in the control of oligodendrocyte differentiation. It was found that over-expression of Olig2 is sufficient to induce Sox10, Nkx2.2 and precocious oligodendrocyte differentiation in embryonic chicken spinal cord. Sox10 expression alone is also sufficient to stimulate ectopic oligodendrocyte differentiation and weakly induce Nkx2.2 expression. Although genetic evidence indicated that Sox10 functions downstream of Olig2, Sox10 activity can modulate Olig2 expression. In addition, we presented evidence that the control of oligodendrocyte differentiation by Olig2, Sox10 and Nkx2.2 is a dosage-dependent developmental process and can be affected by both haploinsufficiency and over-dosage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Chick Embryo
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / biosynthesis
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / physiology*
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.2
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology*
  • Oligodendroglia / physiology
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Spinal Cord / embryology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.2
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nkx2-2 protein, mouse
  • Olig2 protein, mouse
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Sox10 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • nkx2.2b protein, zebrafish