Myelin formation during peripheral nervous system (PNS) development, and reformation after injury and in disease, requires multiple intrinsic and extrinsic signals. Akt/mTOR signaling has emerged as a major player involved, but the molecular mechanisms and downstream effectors are virtually unknown. Here, we have used Schwann-cell-specific conditional gene ablation of raptor and rictor, which encode essential components of the mTOR complexes 1 (mTORC1) and 2 (mTORC2), respectively, to demonstrate that mTORC1 controls PNS myelination during development. In this process, mTORC1 regulates lipid biosynthesis via sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs). This course of action is mediated by the nuclear receptor RXRγ, which transcriptionally regulates SREBP1c downstream of mTORC1. Absence of mTORC1 causes delayed myelination initiation as well as hypomyelination, together with abnormal lipid composition and decreased nerve conduction velocity. Thus, we have identified the mTORC1-RXRγ-SREBP axis controlling lipid biosynthesis as a major contributor to proper peripheral nerve function.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.