Wrapping it up: the cell biology of myelination

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Oct;17(5):533-40. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.08.003. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


During nervous system development, oligodendroglia in the central nervous system (CNS) and Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) synthesise large amounts of specific proteins and lipids to generate myelin, a specialised membrane that spirally ensheathes axons and facilitates fast conduction of the action potential. Myelination is initiated after glial processes have attached to the axon and polarisation of the plasma membrane has been triggered. Myelin assembly is a multi-step process that occurs in spatially distinct regions of the cell. We propose that assembly of myelin proteins and lipids starts during their transport through the biosynthetic pathway and continues at the plasma membrane aided by myelin-basic protein (MBP). These sequential processes create the special lipid and protein composition necessary for myelin to perform its insulating function during nerve conduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Myelin Basic Protein / metabolism
  • Myelin Proteins / metabolism*
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*


  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Myelin Proteins