Neuregulin 1 type III is processed following regulated intramembrane proteolysis, which allows communication from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. We found that the intracellular domain of neuregulin 1 type III upregulated the prostaglandin D2 synthase (L-pgds, also known as Ptgds) gene, which, together with the G protein-coupled receptor Gpr44, forms a previously unknown pathway in PNS myelination. Neuronal L-PGDS is secreted and produces the PGD2 prostanoid, a ligand of Gpr44. We found that mice lacking L-PGDS were hypomyelinated. Consistent with this, specific inhibition of L-PGDS activity impaired in vitro myelination and caused myelin damage. Furthermore, in vivo ablation and in vitro knockdown of glial Gpr44 impaired myelination. Finally, we identified Nfatc4, a key transcription factor for myelination, as one of the downstream effectors of PGD2 activity in Schwann cells. Thus, L-PGDS and Gpr44 are previously unknown components of an axo-glial interaction that controls PNS myelination and possibly myelin maintenance.
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