Transcriptional control of CNS myelination in development and maturity


  • Prof William Richardson

    University College London

Project summary

Professor Richardson studies oligodendrocytes – cells in the CNS that form the insulating myelin sheaths that are necessary for rapid communication between neurons and their targets. Most oligodendrocytes develop early in life but they continue to be produced from their glial precursor cells well into adulthood. There is growing evidence from human brain imaging, as well as from animal models, that adult-born oligodendrocytes and myelin are involved in some forms of learning and memory (eg motor skills learning). In addition, new oligodendrocytes are required for repairing areas of acute myelin damage such as occur in the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis. Professor Richardson will use his Investigator Award to study the molecular control of myelin development, with the long-term aim of learning how to stimulate normal learning processes or to repair myelin damage. He will focus on transcriptional control, because this is the convergence point of many signalling pathways that together orchestrate the myelination programme.